Schneider Shorts of 27 August 2021: the dark truth about mRNA vaccines, science elites innocent of research fraud, game-changer COVID-19 therapies and the joy of abusing patients, with minibrains, gay genes, and at least one lying wanker.
Table of Discontent
- Vaccines Kill!!! A Raoult-associate warns
- ProxaTuskegee: Cadegiani and Zimerman abuse patients in an army hospital
- Nanoparticles to the Rescue! Francesco Stellacci is marketing a cure
- Steaming Turd: David Sabatini sacked for sexual harassment
- Lying Wanker: honesty expert Dan Ariely caught with fake data
- Second Chances: Sophie Jamal can practice medicine again
- Dahlman-Wright is Innocent! The law is an ass indeed.
News in Brief (COVID-19)
News in Brief (other)
Hands up who is surprised that after Eric Chabriere, yet another close associate of Didier Raoult is cosplaying as an antivaxxer? Right, I see, nobody is surprised…
Here is Laurent Mucchielli, CNRS research director and sociology professor at the Aix-Marseille University, who also happens to mentor and share office with Raoult’s son, Sacha. Mucchielli, who has no biomedical training whatsoever, explains in this interview that COVID-19 vaccines kill people:
“This therefore exclusively concerns the four brands of vaccines present in Western countries (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen). We are not talking about vaccination in general, or other vaccines for which we do not have data.
And our results show that the anti-covid vaccination is associated with a mortality that everyone is free to find more or less high (undoubtedly of the order of 1 case in 30,000 to 40,000 vaccinations) but which is unprecedented in the history of vaccination. […]
We talk about “accountability” and “expected mortality” to hide the problems under the table and continue to say that “everything is fine”. In the field, most serious side effects that doctors see and / or report by patients occur within the first few days after injection, which is one of the main elements of accountability. As with the covid deaths, these are obviously most often people who were already weakened by co-morbidities or autoimmune diseases. But the fact remains that the vaccination sort of acted as the final blow, which obviously shouldn’t happen. […]
All of this is neither science nor medicine. It’s ideology associated with business. I would even say that it is ideology in the service of this trade.
The tragedy being that many of us fall into the trap and adopt this ideology which they undoubtedly find reassuring.”
The drivel continues in this vein, with a Big Pharma conspiracy covering up everything and controlling science journals editors. Never mind that Raoult and Chabriere were free to publish their chloroquine quackery and Gilead paranoia in Raoult’s own private Elsevier journals, with exactly zero opposition.
You can imagine what pleasure French anti-vaxxers derive from all this. Mucchielli’s employer CNRS issued a short passive-aggressive statement of protest without naming their professor.
I think characters like Mucchieli, Chabriere and of course Raoult himself are merely toxic symptoms of much bigger problems French academia has. France gets once again bitten on its arse by allowing its academia to become a rotten feudal state run by fraudsters, bullies, quacks, imposters and cretins.
In Brazil, Flavio Cadegiani, Ricardo Zimerman and their colleagues continue with illegal human experimenting with the anti-androgen medicine proxalutamide, helped by the corrupt Bolsonaro-loyal military, all while enriching themselves by on behalf of a Chinese company.
Here Jose Galucci-Neto commenting:
“Brazilian “ProxaTuskegee” scandal!
It seems we have another shameful chapter of proxalutamide fraud. According to a recent report from @PedroNakamura, Caddegiani and Zimerman held an obscure RCT named “ProxaSouth” testing proxalumatide in a military hospital in Porto Alegre without ethical approval from Brazilian authorities (CONEP and ANVISA). When? March/21!
According to Caddegiani, who needs ethical bureaucracies for an RCT with an experimental drug when you know you are saving lives?
“We decided that obstacles and inadequate bureaucracies cannot further delay the dissemination and publication of results of great importance for global public health, in the midst of a pandemic. Certain types of deficiency in institutions cannot stop the advance of research that is strictly ethical and even mandatory from a moral point of view, in view of the results”, they wrote in posts on social networks, as a justification for launching Proxa South. Asked if the release had something to do with the contact for the report, Cadegiani’s staff replied, by phone, that the Matinal “only reminded the doctor to disclose the study’s data.”
The blindness of the study was compromised as usual -see the third picture embedded in the text
An anonymous patient (Eva) told the reporter that she was told to continue the use proxalumatide after hospital discharge without any follow-up from the researchers.
“After just over a week in the hospital, Eva was discharged. She returned home with a prescription to take 300 mg of the experimental drug daily until he completed two weeks of continuous use. Eva considered the dosage high but took it anyway. “They had only explained to me the name of the drug and that I was supposed to take three pills,” she said. As proxalutamide is a new drug, it is not known how different it is from the antiandrogens available on the market.”
“At home, Eva spent two weeks with severe weakness in her legs and mental confusion, supposedly after-effects of the virus. After two weeks, she recovered and even wondered if this evolution could have anything to do with the medicine. The doctors at the Hospital da Brigada Militar had promised to monitor the patient’s health after the tests – but no one came to see her. “They didn’t contact me later. I found this strange. If they did the follow-up research, they should be interested in knowing if the patient got worse, got better, died, but they didn’t look for me anymore. I even found the lack of interest in the results strange, as I improved, which would be great”, she said.”
“However, months after the experiment, Eva reported having “severe” hair loss, without being sure why. “My dermatologist said it was likely to be a consequence of Covid,” adds the patient. One of the functions of medical follow-up would be precisely to assess the long-term safety of the drug being tested.””
Oh, and look, birds of a feather flocking together:
Nanoparticles to the rescue!
Francesco Stellacci, nanotechnology professor at EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland, found yet another cure for COVID-19. Previously it was his proprietary viricidal gold nanoparticles, Stellacci was even appointed to the Graphene Flagship crack team to fight COVID-19.
Now Stellacci has founded a company, Asterivir, to cure COVID-19 with his technology. A Heidi News article (paywalled) announced:
“Created two weeks ago, Asterivir aims to bring a new treatment against Covid-19 on the market. The start-up will continue the preclinical and clinical work undertaken by Prof. Francesco Stellacci from EPFL in collaboration with Prof. Caroline Tapparel from Unige, on modified sugars. By mimicking those on the surface of cells, they lure viruses, trap and destroy them. This broad-spectrum antiviral approach has shown its effectiveness in vitro on more than fifteen viruses including the coronavirus and in animals for influenza and herpes. […]
As part of research funded by the Werner Siemens Foundation, Francesco Stellacci, who heads the Laboratory of Supramolecular Nanomaterials and Interfaces at EPFL, wanted to design new biocompatible virucidal molecules (without toxic effects).
His team first produced an antiviral based on gold nanoparticles to exploit the biocompatibility of this metal. In collaboration with the University of Geneva, the researchers then switched to natural derivatives of glucose: sugars called cyclodextrins. This work was published in January 2020 in Science Advances .”
This was the paper:
Samuel T. Jones , Valeria Cagno , Matej Janeček , Daniel Ortiz , Natalia Gasilova , Jocelyne Piret , Matteo Gasbarri , David A. Constant , Yanxiao Han , Lela Vuković , Petr Král , Laurent Kaiser , Song Huang , Samuel Constant , Karla Kirkegaard , Guy Boivin , Francesco Stellacci , Caroline Tapparel Modified cyclodextrins as broad-spectrum antivirals Science Advances (2020) doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aax9318
Heidi News explains how the treatment works: “The modified cyclodextrin deceives this attachment receptor by biomimicry, causing the virus to attach to the cyclodextrin.” Stellacci is quoted:
“The virus can cling to our molecule but also detach itself from it. So that this is not the case, we have added to these molecules the equivalent of hairs which gradually attach themselves so that the bond becomes ever stronger. To the point that this force ends up exploding the envelope of the viruses, which causes their death. “
We are informed that “the next phase will be to bring it to a clinical trial which could take a year, according to Francesco Stellacci“, who adds:
“Diseases like Ebola or Zika suffer from a lack of investment in research with, in particular, no drugs and vaccines which require significant deployments. Which remains complicated in regions like Africa.
On the other hand, I found that we had very little available to protect populations in the event of a pandemic. We have only developed about ten antivirals over the past 50 years. “
I wrote to Stellacci asking when his clinical trial will start, if he did any follow up research after that paper from January 2020, and why he chose not to save the world with his past invention, the viricidal gold nanoparticles which he says work so great against SARS-CoV2. No reply.
You probably all already heard that David Sabatini, “mTORman” and one of biggest biomedical stars in USA and worldwide, has been sacked by the Whitehead Institute for sexual harassment and is currently on leave from MIT, about to lose his tenured professorship. Officially, “unrelated to research misconduct“.
In case you missed it, here again the email by the Whitehead director:
I am writing to let you know that David Sabatini, a member of Whitehead Institute, is no longer associated with either the Whitehead Institute or the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, effective immediately.
Dr. Sabatini’s departure comes on the heels of his receipt of a report laying out the findings of an independent investigation into the culture and working environment of his lab. This investigation was precipitated by a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion survey commissioned and conducted last winter which collected data and comments on the culture across the Institute. The results of this survey identified issues of particular concern in the Sabatini Lab and that led to the appointment of Hinkley Allen & Snyder LLP to investigate the Sabatini Lab. In sum, the investigation found that Dr. Sabatini violated the Institute’s policies on sexual harassment among other Whitehead policies unrelated to research misconduct.
Dr. Sabatini’s departure has significant implications for the 39 members of his lab, four of whom are HHMI employees; the remainder are Whitehead employees. Whitehead human resources personnel will be conducting one-on-one meetings with all 39 – next week – to help effectuate a plan to ensure their smooth transition to another lab setting so that they may continue their work in pursuit of their career goals.
I am and will always be steadfast in my commitment to providing an inclusive, supportive environment for the training and research of our community.
Fact is, that in January 2020 I wrote this article summing up the data integrity issues in Sabatini’s papers, and quoted him calling his PubPeer critics “failed scientists” and “steaming turds“. Fact is also that in February 2020, the MIT Compliance Officer wrote to me to acknowledge my notification of suspected research misconduct and to announce an investigation.
Likely is that the MIT investigators invited all current and past members of Sabatini lab to bring up complaints, as it is common practice with proper investigations. Possible is that some complained of sexual harassment.
Fact is that it is near impossible to sack someone for research misconduct, because if they sue they will always win in court, while it’s relatively easy to sack someone for sexual harassment or bullying.
Speculation would be to assume that Sabatini was asked by MIT and Whitehead to quietly resign and to find another job far away (the usual procedure in academia), but he refused and instead relied on his genius to outsmart the steaming turds. Well, he wasn’t that smart after all.
Another star has fallen over research fraud.
This Data Colada blog post about a 2012 paper by an Israeli psychologist Dan Ariely, ironically an expert on dishonesty, broke a huge scandal:
Evidence of Fraud in an Influential Field Experiment About Dishonesty
“In 2012, Shu, Mazar, Gino, Ariely, and Bazerman published a three-study paper in PNAS (.htm) reporting that dishonesty can be reduced by asking people to sign a statement of honest intent before providing information (i.e., at the top of a document) rather than after providing information (i.e., at the bottom of a document). In 2020, Kristal, Whillans, and the five original authors published a follow-up in PNAS entitled, “Signing at the beginning versus at the end does not decrease dishonesty” (.htm). They reported six studies that failed to replicate the two original lab studies, including one attempt at a direct replication and five attempts at conceptual replications.”
This was the paper, it is about to be retracted for fraud:
Lisa L. Shu, Nina Mazar, Francesca Gino, Dan Ariely, and Max H. Bazerman Signing at the beginning makes ethics salient and decreases dishonest self-reports in comparison to signing at the end PNAS (2012) doi: 10.1073/pnas.1209746109
Maybe Ariely should have himself signed a declaration of honesty before writing that PNAS paper, so he wouldn’t have cheated. Oh wait, devil’s circle, it wouldn’t have worked anyway, because his finding on how to ensure honesty was fabricated.
Those are the conclusions of the anonymous sleuths at Data Colada:
“The evidence presented in this post indicates that the data underwent at least two forms of fabrication: (1) many Time 1 data points were duplicated and then slightly altered (using a random number generator) to create additional observations, and (2) all of the Time 2 data were created using a random number generator that capped miles driven, the key dependent variable, at 50,000 miles.
A single fraudulent dataset almost never provides enough evidence to answer all relevant questions about how that fraud was committed. And this dataset is no exception. First, it is impossible to tell from the data who fabricated it. But because the fourth author [Dan Ariely] has made it clear to us that he was the only author in touch with the insurance company, there are three logical possibilities: the fourth author himself, someone in the fourth author’s lab, or someone at the insurance company.”
Dan Ariely is not some obscure psychologist. He is a star of Israeli media, “Professor, Scientist, Bestselling Author, Experimentalist at heart” with 200k Twitter followers, Duke University professor, very rich and well-connected, as a newspaper The Marker reminds:
“Arieli began his career in behavioral economics as an academic, but for years he has leveraged his expertise far beyond campuses: he writes books that sell tens of thousands of copies, advises leaders around the world, invests in their start-ups he advises, and delivers popular and expensive lectures to the general public. All of these made him rich and famous, but also criticized for being “overactive” and “expert in everything”
The dishonesty expert Ariely was quoted by The Marker:
“In a response letter published by Arieli, he does not deny that the data was fabricated: “The study was conducted ten years ago in collaboration with an insurance company I was in contact with. I was not involved in collecting the data, the company is the one that collected them”
It gets worse for Ariely, a journal issued an Expression of Concern on another one of his papers:
“This statement is an Expression of Concern regarding the article “Effort for Payment: A Tale of Two Markets” (Heyman & Ariely, 2004) published in Psychological Science. This Expression of Concern is prompted by some uncertainty regarding the values of statistical tests reported in the article and the analytic approach taken to the data. The corresponding author of the article and coauthor of this statement, Dan Ariely, attempted to locate the original data in an effort to resolve the ambiguities but was unsuccessful. Because the ambiguities cannot be resolved, we decided to issue an Expression of Concern about the confidence that can be held in the results reported in the article.
The ambiguity originally was brought to the attention of the Editor in Chief by Gilad Feldman, Hirotaka Imada, Wan Fei Chan, Yuk Ki Ng, Lee Hing Man, Mei Sze Wong, and Bo Ley Cheng. These researchers ran the article through statcheck (Epskamp & Nuijten, 2018), an R package that is designed to detect statistical errors…”
Israel’s top expert in honesty is a research fraudster, how ironic is that. Kind of reminiscent of how Germany’s top expert on compassion and empathy, Tanja Singer, proved to be a bully. More Ariely papers get questioned for what looks to be falsified data, here one on the topic of masturbation:
Someone has been a lying wanker all along.
What happens to a doctor who abuses patients, commits massive fraud in clinical research, and when caught, frames an innocent colleague, and when caught on that, destroys samples of the entire lab? What do you mean, nothing unusual in academia, except the getting caught bit???
Anyway, yes, people like Dr Sophie Jamal obviously need second chances. Toronto Sun wrote in May 2021:
“Dr. Sophie Jamal was a leading expert and internationally published researcher in osteoporosis — until an investigation discovered she’d been fabricating her results.
According to the regulator for Ontario doctors, Jamal initially tried to place all the blame on her innocent research associate, almost ruining her career. She then tried to discredit her colleagues, claiming they had ulterior motives for questioning her results.
When that didn’t work, they found Jamal tried to cover up her fraud: She illegally accessed patient records to destroy and change files, disposed of an old computer so investigators couldn’t examine it and even went into the Canadian Blood Services facility and changed freezer temperatures to damage blood and urine samples to mask her deception.”
Jamal then resigned as professor at University of Toronto, by now four of her papers were retracted. She was also “ordered to repay more than $253,000 to the Canadian Institute of Health Research for the funding she received and banned from ever again receiving federal research grants“, as Toronto Sun mentioned.
In March 2018, she was stripped of her medical licence. Two years later, she was reinstated by same College of Physicians, on the grounds that she declared to have been a) mentally insane at that time, and b) very sorry about what happened.
Dahlman-Wright is innocent!
Remember the former rector of the Karolinska Institutet (KI) in Stockholm and member of the Nobel Prize committee, Karin Dahlman-Wright, who was found guilty of research misconduct in 4 papers by Sweden’s national research integrity authority, NPOF?
Turns out, Dahlman-Wright is innocent! She never committed any research misconduct at all, here the recent decision of the Swedish court forwarded to me by Johan Thyberg.
The court agrees with NPOF that image falsification took place in articles 1-4, and those errors should be considered as serious. Yet the the court determined that these errors occurred not due to any intentional acts by Dahlman-Wright. Her contribution only happened at a late stage where she didn’t have enough time to detect the errors and thus she is not responsible for the errors in her papers. The court also notes in Dahlman-Wright’s support that she submitted corrections to journals as soon as she became aware of the issues. For these reasons the court concludes that there was no gross negligence in legal sense and that Dahlman-Wright is hence not guilty of any research misconduct.
The extra irony is that the same court previously confirmed the past verdict by KI (a decision Dahlman-Wright was party to) that the whistleblowers in the trachea transplant affair of Paolo Macchiarini were indeed guilty of research misconduct, because these whistleblowers happened to be co-authors on the Macchiarini papers they themselves later exposed as fraudulent.
The law is an asshole.
News in Brief (COVID-19)
- Zhang Wenhong, “China’s Dr Fauci”, whose PhD thesis on Traditional Chinese Medicine is largely plagiarised, proved to be also entirely innocent of research misconduct. Shanghai’s Fudan University issued a brief statement that no evidence of malpractice was found, “only some minor irregularities in the review section of the thesis, which did not affect the quality of the research or amount to academic misconduct“. Wenhong expressed his gratitude to the Communist Party by changing his stance about the need to learn to “co-exist” with the virus, writing on social media “that China’s strategy – of strict preventive measures coupled with lockdowns and mass testing – was the “most suitable” for the country so far.” (South China Morning Post)
- A German far-left populist politician Oskar Lafontaine is stoking the flames of antivaxxery by warning of dangers of mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines (Tagesschau). He references this preprint: Föhse et al 2021, which declares: “the mRNA BNT162b2 vaccine induces complex functional reprogramming of innate immune responses, which should be considered in the development and use of this new class of vaccines“. What nobody seems to have noticed: the last author of that preprint is the controversial Romanian professor Mihai Netea, who also claims that the Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine (read here) can prevent all possible infectuous diseases including of course COVID-19 (eg., in this preprint Tsilika et al 2021). WHO doesn’t agree with him, but antivaxxers do.
- NIH informs that convalescent plasma therapy against COVID-19 doesn’t work: “The final results of the Clinical Trial of COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma in Outpatients (C3PO) demonstrate that COVID-19 convalescent plasma did not prevent disease progression in a high-risk group of outpatients with COVID-19, when administered within the first week of their symptoms. The trial was stopped in February 2021 due to lack of efficacy based on a planned interim analysis.”
- I once predicted that the Israeli Scientist and businessman Yakoov Nahmias will achieve a 100% success in his unblinded, uncontrolled clinical trial with the anti-cholesterol drug fenofibrate as COVID-19 therapy. Behold, he did! The Jerusalem Post bears great news: “Fourteen out of 15 severe COVID-19 patients who were treated in an investigator-initiated interventional open-label clinical study of the drug TriCor (fenofibrate) didn’t require oxygen support within a week of treatment and were released from the hospital, according to the results of a new Hebrew University of Jerusalem study.” That’s all very nice, and I’m sure the study Nahmias et al 2021 will pass peer review at ResearchSquare, but the originally registered phase 3 clinical trial NCT04661930 had 50 participants with “increased oxygen requirement“, not 15. Guess the other 35 were removed as outliers? Never mind: “The professor is now involved with a series of Phase III studies being carried out in South America, the United States and Israel. Those studies are placebo-controlled and double-blind.“
News in Brief (other)
- I don’t mind being the only one making fun of Alysson Muotri and his braindead minibrain pseudoscience. So here is his new paper about head size prediction (sic!) of autistic minibrains, published in the elite trash journal Molecular Psychiatry (Urresti et al 2021). Together with his fellow UC San Diego loon Lilia Iakoucheva, Muotri made some crappy neurospheres “induced pluripotent stem cells derived from people who have 16p11.2 genomic variations—three people with deletions, three with duplications and three non-variant controls.“, as per UCSD press release. Low and behold, the autism of these minibrains in the dish was cured by inhibition of small GTPase RhoA. Muotri proudly announces yet another cure for yet another neurological disease: “Our work opens the possibility to therapeutically manipulate the RhoA pathway, […] The same pathway may be also damaged in other individuals with autism spectrum disorder who have macrocephaly or microcephaly. Considering this, we can potentially help millions of patients.”
- This isn’t Muotri anymore, but other Californian minibrain clowns, from UCLA: “Researchers at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA have developed brain organoids — 3D, brain-like structures grown from human stem cells — that show organized waves of activity similar to those found in living human brains.” This silliness has been published in Nature Neuroscience (Samarasinghe et al 2021), and it is even sillier than you think: “Next, the team developed brain organoids using cells from people with Rett syndrome, a genetic disorder associated with learning delays, repetitive movements and seizures. […] When Novitch and Samarasinghe treated the Rett organoids with an experimental drug called Pifithrin-alpha, the seizure-associated activity patterns disappeared, and the organoids’ neural activity became more normal.” All other silliness aside, Pifithrin alpha is an old, very unspecific drug thought to be, as the name hints, an inhibitor of p53, a cell cycle master control gene.
- Business as usual: Viravuth Yin, former professor at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory (MDIBL) and co-founder of heart regeneration biotech Novo Biosciences, “engaged in research misconduct by knowingly, intentionally, and/or recklessly falsifying and/or fabricating data included in the following three (3) published papers and two (2) submitted manuscripts” as US authority HHS-ORI decided in a statement. There are no PubPeer records of that fraud, means someone on the inside blew the whistle. But don’t worry: Yin’s business partner and the other company co-founder, Kevin Strange, told Retraction Watch: “After thorough review by our team, we are fully confident that the studies cited by ORI have no relationship to nor do they provide any scientific foundations for our previous and ongoing work. Dr. Yin remains a valuable member of the Novo Biosciences team”.
- Gay genes found, and those prove to be evolutionary advantageous by making people with those gay genes more attractive and promiscuous: “genetic effects associated with [same-sex sexual behaviour] are associated with having more opposite-sex sexual partners“, as a Dutch-American team has discovered (Zietsch et al Nature Human Behaviour 2021). Yes, it is a UK Biobank analysis. Yes, it is trash. No, gay people don’t want to be “reverted” to heterosexuality no matter what trash psychology genomics says.
- MDPI issued an editorial protesting a paper where they were called “predatory“, already in the title: Oviedo-García, “Journal citation reports and the definition of a predatory journal: The case of the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)” Research Evaluation (2021). MDPI may have a point that they are largely “in-line with other publishers” who also publish any trash in exchange for money, but then again, only MDPI publishes outright racism these days.
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I can see why the QAnon crowd have glommed onto a livestock wormer (ivermectin) as the magical cure. These are, after all, the same people who rely on bleach enemas to rid themselves and their children of Bowel Worms (i.e. intestinal lining). They are convinced that whatever is wrong with the world (in health as in politics) is caused by parasites, and they just have to kill enough parasites to make everything better.
Why otherwise-intelligent people should believe in it, to the point of publishing entirely fabricated research, is a mystery.
In this regard, who is surprised that Simone Gold’s ivermectin-peddling America’s Frontline Doctors is a scam?
“Over the past three months, a TIME investigation found, hundreds of AFLD customers and donors have accused the group of touting a service promising prescriptions for ivermectin, which medical authorities say should not be taken to treat or prevent COVID-19, and failing to deliver after a fee had been paid. Some customers described being charged for consultations that did not happen. Others said they were connected to digital pharmacies that quoted excessive prices of up to $700 for the cheap medication.”
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Anyone surprised that another professorial friend Raoult’s, Christian Perronne is an antivaxxer also?
A recently retracted article from the MDPI journal Vaccines (“The Safety of COVID-19 Vaccinations—We Should Rethink the Policy”, authors Harald Walach, Rainer Klement & Wouter Aukema) has been republished in the journal “Science, Public Health Policy, and the Law”, apparently without a DOI, see https://www.publichealthpolicyjournal.com/ This journal is related to IPAK, the Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge, see https://ipaknowledge.org/