There is a vaccine which the antivaxxers in Germany are literally queuing to get. Some already got vaccinated, utterly illegally and utterly in the open, while the German state authorities appear helpless because the vaccine’s inventor is extremely rich.
Meet the German billionaire Winfried Stöcker, the biomedical entrepreneur from Lübeck, who in 2017 sold his company Euroimmun for $ 1.3 Billion, who owns a shopping mall, an airport and a marmalade factory, and whom many would describe as far-right, given his history of xenophobia, misogyny and support for the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party.
And now Stöcker developed a vaccine for COVID-19, which he calls LubecaVax and everyone else “the Stöcker”, and offers it, directly or as a do-it-yourself, to everyone who disapproves of the approved COVID-19 vaccines.
The vaccine is a recombinant fragment of the SARS-CoV2 spike protein, never clinically tested, never approved, even though Stöcker claims “high levels of virus-neutralizing antibodies in 97% of those vaccinated“. Here is how he describes on his own blog the advantages for the interested Querdenker and antivaxxers:
“Since the production of the vaccine antigen takes place outside the body, there is no need to be afraid of the uncontrolled spread of genetic information introduced into the human organism.
The Lübeck anti-Covid-19 vaccination causes hardly any allergic reactions, not at all to polyethylene glycol, which is used by the Biontech company to microencapsulate mRNA, and in contrast to the vaccinations already approved in Germany, of more than a hundred vaccinated people no one reported sick, but continued working uninterruptedly. Any doctor can legally administer the vaccine in their practice.“
The last part is untrue, it is not legal. But it doesn’t matter: the Stöcker vaccine is being injected by collaborating doctors all over northern and eastern Germany it seems, and all that German authorities dare to do, is to occasionally disrupt the mass-vaccinations. Like it happened on 26 November 2021, when Stöcker’s team was mass-vaccinating people at the Lübeck airport, which he happens to own.
Deutsche Welle reported:
“Before the action in Lübeck was stopped on Friday, 50 people were likely to have been vaccinated, the authorities said. When the officials arrived, 80 people were counted in front of the airport building, and more people streamed in. Around 150 people willing to vaccinate have already been in the check-in hall.
The vaccination was carried out in an office room specially prepared for this purpose. There was no air traffic. The police secured vaccination samples, used syringes and vaccination lists. The personal details of the people present were recorded.”
Nobody was arrested. Imagine if some pedestrian Querdenker was doing same thing, he may have been arrested right away, surely put on trial. But Stöcker is a billionaire, politically connected, and the lawyer who represents him is Wolfgang Kubicki, vice-chairman of the Free Democratic Party (FDP), a party where Stöcker used to be member in, but left when FDP was forced to publicly renounce a collaboration with the AfD. FDP traditionally represents the interests of the wealthy elites and is about to become part of the German government once again.
The police and state prosecutor announced to investigate the illegal vaccinations, as NDR reported:
“The investigations by the police and public prosecutor’s office are reportedly directed against four men between the ages of 61 and 81. According to information from NDR Schleswig-Holstein, these are the two managing directors of the airport, Jürgen Friedel and Winfried Stöcker, and two retired doctors.[…]
Winfried Stöcker confirmed in social networks that he had no approval for his vaccine. He also did not apply for this. More than 10,000 people have already been vaccinated with his unapproved vaccine, he said.”
Thing is, although Stöcker and his partnering doctors are subject to criminal investigations for some time already, it seems Kubicki has been doing a great job explaining the concept of elites to the confused authorities. His strategy is to use the German loophole of compassionate use, which, when played smart, has been allowing doctors to do with their patients anything they wanted after the patient signed the approval. Kubicki argues that sure, it may be illegal to do clinical trials with an untested and unapproved medicine, but Stöcker never did a clinical trial, his medical partners were vaccinating everyone individually! And besides, unlike all those medical quacks getting rich by peddling quack therapies as compassionate use in Germany, Stöcker has declared to earn no money with his vaccine, so what he did was actually an act of charity, very honourable and also tax deductible probably.
The compassionate use argument is baseless, even the German term (“Individueller Heilversuch”, “healing attempt on an individual”) makes it clear. For starters, the volunteers whom Stöcker’s team vaccinated were not even ill, hence no need for a “healing attempt”, and there were thousands of these perfectly healthy people by now, not one incurably sick “individual”.
But the law is an ass, and it’s always helpful to be so rich you can afford lawyers like Kubicki. Because Stöcker doesn’t seem to be at all afraid of facing a criminal trial in court and instead continues with his own private
clinical trials compassionate use mass-treatments unabated.
How did we get there?
Stöcker’s Wikipedia page contains interesting information about his sociopolitical views:
“On 18 December 2014 Stocker told the Sächsische Zeitung that he wanted to send refugees and foreigners in general “ideally back to their home countries”; they had “no right to settle down in Germany.”  Stöcker warned in an interview also against “Islamization” of Germany. […] He insisted to continue using the word “Negro“. […]
In an address to the EuroImmun employees during a Christmas concert in the Church of St. James at the end of 2017 [link,- LS], Stöcker spoke critically about the #MeToo movement, feminists and journalists. He also published the speech on his blog. Among other things, he advised “girls” to “dress more restrained and present themselves less provocatively to audition so that poor film directors remain on the path of virtue.” He suspected that it was those in the # MeToo movement who cried out “were optically less favourably endowed by nature”. To the EuroImmun employees, he advised: “(…) conceive many children so that we have something to oppose the wilfully incited mindless onslaught of unauthorised asylum seekers”.
Stöcker is a refugee himself – in his youth he escaped the totalitarian East Germany to study in the West German University of Lübeck (he now holds an adjunct professorship there). Recently, it turned out he donated to the far-right anti-immigration party AfD.
My regular readers will recall Stöcker and his Lübeck-based Euroimmun, which the founder sold in 2017 to Perkin Elmer for $1.3 Billion, half of the money officially went to himself. Euroimmun is a diagnostics company, which supplies tests and assays for various pathogens, these days of course also for the coronavirus.
Two years ago, Elisabeth Bik flagged several Euroimmun papers for image manipulation, these often featured Stöcker and/or his company’s then-CEO Wolfgang Schlumberger as co-authors. None of these papers were corrected, because Stöcker explained to me that “Essential message is beyond any question“. He also provided a rebuttal letter to Bik, which became the basis for my follow-up article.
Stöcker told me also:
All journal editors did as ordered and let the matter rest. Like here:
Nina Van Beek , Kristin Rentzsch , Christian Probst , Lars Komorowski , Michael Kasperkiewicz , Kai Fechner , Inga M. Blöcker , Detlef Zillikens , Winfried Stöcker , Enno Schmidt Serological diagnosis of autoimmune bullous skin diseases: Prospective comparison of the BIOCHIP mosaic-based indirect immunofluorescence technique with the conventional multi-step single test strategy Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases (2012) doi: 10.1186/1750-1172-7-49
As Stöcker summed up:
Little did we know that while Bik was flagging Stöcker’s Euroimmun papers on PubPeer and while I was printing his explanations, he was actually busy pushing his home-made COVID-19 vaccine. Evidence of shoddy science in Stöcker’s past research may prove unhelpful in his vaccination campaign. Hence, there was also no correction issued here:
Christian Probst, Sandra Saschenbrecker, Winfried Stoecker, Lars Komorowski Anti-neuronal autoantibodies: Current diagnostic challenges Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders (2014) doi: 10.1016/j.msard.2013.12.001
And no correction here:
Gianna Mastroianni-Kirsztajn, Nora Hornig and Wolfgang Schlumberger Autoantibodies in renal diseases – clinical significance and recent developments in serological detection Frontiers in Immunology (2015) doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2015.00221
And of course also no correction here, for all we know it may have been Kubicki or another lawyer Stöcker recruited to advise the journals to let the matter rest:
Waltraud Suer, Cornelia Dähnrich, Wolfgang Schlumberger, Winfried Stöcker Autoantibodies in SLE but not in scleroderma react with protein-stripped nucleosomes Journal of Autoimmunity (2004) 10.1016/j.jaut.2004.02.002
Stöcker: “One of the chromatographic lanes demonstrated by Mrs. Bik really looks like to be covered at the lower end. We use to read each of our papers very carefully before being published, but did not observe such irregularity and cannot more find out who caused it, we or the publisher. […] At least, the essential message of this publication is beyond any question.”
Now that you had a gist of what Stöcker thinks of refugees, people of colour and women, you can now gather a general idea about his attitude to the scientific method and research integrity.
And in 2020, Stöcker invented a COVID-19 vaccine! Which he then immediately tested on himself and a hundred volunteers, without any ethics approval. He informed the German health authority Paul-Ehrlich-Institute only afterwards, expecting them to immediately approve his vaccine for public use. But the institute reacted in December 2020 by reporting Stöcker to the state prosecutor for illegal human experimenting.
Never mind! In February 2021, Germany’s most respected political magazine Der Spiegel touted the miracle vaccine in a TV programme, denouncing this conspiracy against Stöcker. This is also what top lawyers can achieve: advertising via favourable media coverage in top news outlets. Most recently, another leading German political magazine, Stern, brought a portrait article:
“In his private laboratory with 50 employees, Stöcker developed an antigen, which he first tested on himself and later also on family members and volunteers. It didn’t take him more than half an hour to manufacture the vaccine. In three months, it follows, enough vaccine could be produced to completely vaccinate Germany, he stated, among other thing in Stern TV, and declared the active ingredient as harmless. According to his own statements, he did not experience any side effects.
Stöcker then contacted the chief virologist at the Berlin Charité, Christian Drosten. He offered a neutralization test. This is used to check whether specific antibodies have been formed that neutralize the coronavirus. The results were clear and the self-experiment was successful. The institute of the virologist Hendrik Streeck in Bonn also considered the antigen to be effective.”
Now, Drosten and Streeck are Germany’s two most prominent virologists (for very different reasons, mind you), the claim of their support goes back to that Spiegel TV programme. Streeck is very popular with Querdenker and other covidiots, because he propagated the herd immunity approach early in the pandemic, with a much criticised study on a German town included. Drosten and his COVID-19 advice is extremely respected by both the general public and his peers, his lab also designed the COVID-19 PCR test which is now used worldwide. It may be not at all surprising to hear of Streeck endorsing the Stöcker vaccine, but very puzzling at least to see Drosten do same.
Well, this SWR article debunks the Stöcker vaccine and is sceptical of the claim that Drosten ever supported it. Apparently, Stöcker merely sent his own blood sample to Drosten’s lab at Charite Berlin, and received in return some advice from the virologist:
It is however strange that Drosten himself is not rejecting media’s claims of his Stöcker vaccine endorsement. I can’t speculate about Drosten’s reasoning to remain silent, but in any case, I congratulate Stöcker on his lawyers, and also on their media savviness.
Thanks to the embarrassing advertising by Spiegel TV and other media, Stöcker’s vaccine became quite popular in certain circles. Those of Querdenker, antivaxxers, far-right, and other covidiots. To facilitate the distribution, the inventor posted the recipe for the recombinant vaccine on his blog, inviting doctors to order his freeze-dried polypeptide and mix the vaccine themselves.
Here is one such early customer. In spring 2021, a general practitioner in the Görlitz area (where Stöcker incidentally owns that fancy shopping mall) was “vaccinating” people in her private practice with “Stöcker”, the vaccine, and it seems nobody was willing or daring to do anything about it. The doctor said she was not the only one in the Görlitz area applying “the Stöcker”:
The Görlitz doctor also argued to operate under “compassionate use”, claiming “the Stöcker” was safer than the Biontech/Pfizer vaccine. As if Stöcker’s lawyers trained her what to say when caught.
Later on, Stöcker opened a vaccination centre in the German state of Saxony. The public news channel MDR reports:
“The public prosecutor’s office in Görlitz is investigating against unknown persons because of an illegal vaccination campaign in Schönau-Berzdorf. As a spokesman for the public prosecutor’s office told MDR SACHSEN, they are investigating a violation of the Medicines Act. It is also about whether the vaccination campaign is an act of bodily harm. The criminal police took over the investigation.
A few days ago, up to 200 people in the Schönau-Berzdorf district of Kiesdorf were injected with an unapproved corona vaccine. It is said to be the vaccine by Winfried Stöcker, the founder of the Euroimmun company. Investigations against Winfried Stöcker are already pending at the Lübeck public prosecutor’s office. There are several reports against the doctor for a violation of the Medicines Act.”
As a reminder, Stöcker reacted to all these criminal investigations by opening another “vaccination centre” at the Lübeck airport (which he owns). The customers were recruited over a mailing list among those who previously petitioned for an immediate approval of “the Stöcker”, as a local newspaper in Northern Germany reported. Also, it mentioned that a “woman from Scandinavia” tried to register her Stöcker vaccination certificate in a local pharmacy in the northern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
Stöcker is most obviously not bothered by the criminal investigations and has apparently no plans to stop. Can you imagine a better advertisement for the services of his lawyer Kubicki? Maybe the reason why German journalists are allowed to critically report about Stöcker’s illegal vaccination campaign is that they actually advertise to all the antivaxxers and covidiots in Germany and beyond. Because this is the only COVID-19 vaccine these people trust, and Stöcker is their hero.
Yesterday Stöcker announced to cease his vaccinations. He wrote on his blog (translated from German):
“Now we don’t have time to wait for an ideal vaccine like LubecaVax, which I believe offers a better risk-benefit ratio, or to complain about incompetent authorities. Figuratively speaking, we are in a state of war with the coronavirus. There is no point in anticipating a miracle weapon that has not yet been approved, regardless of why it is not yet available.
Please get vaccinated with the state-recommended preparations, provided that you do not yet have immune protection on this day. I do not want to induce anyone to postpone the vaccination that is currently required and for these reasons I will cease my activities in this direction until the end of this emergency in Germany.“
Guess his lawyer Kubicki negotiated a deal with the authorities?