History is littered with dark references to illegal and often inhumane medical experimentation practices. World War II did not change anything, in terms of redefining parameters for universal human rights. The Nuremberg Trials were conducted as a show piece to assuage public demand for retribution.
Behind the façade, backroom maneuvers were underway to smuggle technicians and scientists into the US. The World Health Organization formed on April 07, 1948, heralding a global protectorate for health; a visible, collective response to unbridled fascism.
The Military Industry Complex was constantly poised at the forefront of vaccine research and development.
Merck catapulted into prominence with a first commercial Smallpox vaccine in 1898 , first antibiotic Penicillin G in 1942, capped by the HPV Vaccine Gardasil. But it was the Hepatitis B Vaccine, in particular, the unethical practical means by which this formula was coveted, which remains immersed in controversy.
At the height of WWII, founder of Merck & Co., George W. Merck, was appointed Chairman of Biological Warfare Committee of US Army Chemical War Service, authorized by President Roosevelt, to accelerate biological weaponry capabilities for the US Military.
There was no effort made to disguise conflict-of-interests in their decision. Government sought an expert in the field of vaccines, capable of managing its covert defensive bioweaponry section. George Merck was, for all intents and purposes, the godfather of vaccines.
In 1945, a top secret program called Operation Paperclip began. Its purpose was to plumb the depths of scientific technical knowledge from the Third Reich in furtherance of US national security interests, and superiority in the medical research division.
‘By the end of January 1946, 160 Nazi Scientists had been secreted into America.’ Some prominent vaccine doctors stood out on the blacklist: Major General Dr. Walter P. Schreiber: Chief of Medical services Supreme Command, Nazi physician in charge of vaccines , camp experimenter, microbiologist and epidemiologist. Dr. Kurt Blome: deputy Surgeon General of Third Reich, a biological weapons expert in germ warfare, who was also notably the cancer specialist or Plenipotentiary for Cancer Research in the Reich Research Council. Eric Traub, Hitler’s elite virologist, microbiologist, a regularly practicing veterinarian, known for his grotesque studies on producing cattle plague or Rinderpert. Merck was ideally positioned to fully exploit Germany’s most coveted expertise.
The Hepatitis B Vaccine timeline traces back to the 1950s. At Willowbrook State School for Mentally Challenged, Staten Island NY, incapacitated arrivals (inmates) were forcibly injected with cancerous Hepatitis B shots. There is no foot note saved for those who inadvertently died.
‘Dr. Saul Krugman of New York University conducted studies of hepatitis during the 1950s and 1960s on the severely mentally retarded. He systematically infected newly arrived children between the ages of three and eleven with strains of the virus obtained from the feces of Willowbrook hepatitis patients. How much better to have a patient with hepatitis accidentally or deliberately acquired under the guidance of a Krugman, than under the care of a rights-minded zealot.”’ Excerpt from Carol Rutz’s Lecture at Indiana University, November, 2003 Dr. Krugman was honored with a lifetime achievement award by his peers in the medical field.
Merck & Co. launched an extensive field study in 1978 to test Hepatitis B Vaccine prototype (Heptavax-B), targeting New York’s homosexual community; considered acutely susceptible to Hepatitis. July, 1982 the first HepB Vaccine was introduced, recommended for infants, children …and adults.
‘There were, as well, widespread concerns, in the early 1980s, about any plasma-based product. In 1981 scientists first recognized the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), spreading fear that Merck’s new (HB) vaccine and others might be contaminated.’ By 1990, Heptavax-B was officially discontinued, replaced with Merck’s ‘Recombivax HB.’
Merck, Sharp and Dohme provided major financial support for the earliest hepatitis B vaccination studies, conducted in Central Africa and New York City during the early 1970’s.
“Several authorities have argued these vaccine trials might best explain the unique epidemiological patterns of HIV/AIDS transmission between U.S. and Africa. The Vaccine was prepared in the laboratories of Dep’t of Virus and Cell Biology Research, Merck Institute for Theraputic Research, West Point, Pennsylvania. The placebo was also prepared in Merck Laboratories.”’
Excerpts from my book, ‘Keep Them From Harm: Science, Ethics, and the Problem with Vaccines’, which is currently still available.