Developers of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine tied to UK eugenics movement (3)
Read the second part of the article
The Galton Institute: Eugenics for the Twenty-First Century
Both the Wellcome Trust and Adrian Hill share a close relationship with the most infamous eugenics society in Europe, the British Eugenics Society. The Eugenics Society was renamed the Galton Institute in 1989, a name that pays homage to Sir Francis Galton, the so-called father of eugenics, a field that he often described as the “science of improving racial stock.”
In the case of the Wellcome Trust, the Trust’s library is the guardian of the Eugenics Society historical archives. When the Wellcome Trust first set up its Contemporary Medical Archive Center, the first organizational archive it sought to acquire was tellingly that of the Eugenics Society–Galton Institute. Wellcome’s website describes the Eugenics Society’s original purpose as “to increase public understanding of heredity and to influence parenthood in Britain, with the aim of biological improvement of the nation and mitigation of the burdens deemed to be imposed on society by the genetically ‘unfit’.” It also states the interests of the society’s members “ranged from the biology of heredity, a subject that developed rapidly during the first half of the 20th century, to the provision of birth control methods, artificial insemination, statistics, sex education and family allowances.” Lesley Hall, Wellcome’s senior archivist, has referred to Francis Galton, a racist eugenicist, as an “eminent late nineteenth century polymath” in her discussion of the Eugenics Society archive held at Wellcome.
Several top governance positions at the former British Eugenics Society, now the Galton Institute, include persons who originally worked at the Wellcome Trust, including the Galton Institute’s president Turi King. Elena Bochukova, a current Galton Council Member and Galton lecturer, previously worked under the direction of Adrian Hill at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics. The Galton Institute’s senior genetics researcher, Jess Buxton, was previously a “genetics researcher” at the Wellcome Trust and then went on to carry out independent research financed by Wellcome. Her research, which is particularly race oriented, includes creating the first genetic sequence map of a native Nigerian. Moreover, Adrian Hill himself spoke at the Eugenics Society–Galton Institute at the celebration of their 100th anniversary in 2008.
The Galton Institute publishes what they now call the Galton Review, previously titled the Eugenics Review, where various members of the self-proclaimed “learned society” publish papers focused on population issues, genetics, evolutionary biology, and fertility. A look at early issues of the Eugenics Review shines a light on Galton’s original ambitions. In the 1955 issue titled “The Immigration of Colored People,” an author asks, “What will become of our national character, good workmanship etc. in the course of a few decades if this immigration of negroes and negroids continues unchecked?” The article ends with an appeal to readers to write their parliamentary representatives and urge them that in view of “racial betterment or deterioration” something is necessary to be done urgently to “check the present influx of africans and other negroids.”
It appears that the Galton Institute continues to see the immigration of racial minorities into European cities as an unchecked threat. David Coleman, an Oxford professor of demographics and a fellow at the institute runs an anti-immigration organization and advocacy group called MigrationWatch, whose mission is to preserve the European culture of the UK by lobbying the government to stem legal immigration and publishing data that supposedly demonstrates the biological and cultural threat of increasing immigration.
A 1961 issue of the Eugenics Review titled “The Impending Crisis” claims the function of the institute’s upcoming conference is “to honor Margaret Sanger” and describes the population crisis as “quantity threatening quality.” Margaret Sanger, known as the “pioneer of the American birth control movement,” was a staunch advocate for promoting “racial betterment” and the key architect of the Negro Project, which she claimed “was established for the benefit of the colored people.” But as medical ethics fellow at Harvard Medical School, Harriet Washington, argues in her book “Medical Apartheid”, “The Negro Project sought to find the best way to reduce the black population by promoting eugenic principals.” Sanger was an American member of the British Eugenics Society.
Another early member of the Galton Institute was John Harvey Kellogg, prominent business man and eugenicist. Kellogg founded the Race Betterment Foundation and argued that immigrants and nonwhites would damage the American gene pool.
Yet another example is Charles Davenport, a scientist known for his collaborative research efforts with eugenicists in Nazi Germany and his contributions to Nazi Germany’s brutal racial policies, who was vice president of the Galton Institute in 1931.
Another more recent member of the Galton Institute was David Weatherall, for whom the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine at Oxford is named. Weatherall was a member of the Galton Institute when it was still named the Eugenics Society, and he remained a member until his death in 2018. Weatherall, who was knighted by the British monarch in 1987 for his contributions to science, addressed the Galton Institute on numerous occasions and gave a senior lecture on genetics at the institute in 2014, of which no transcript or video is available. As an Oxford professor, Weatherall was Adrian Hill’s doctoral adviser and eventually his boss when Hill began working at the Weatherall Institute conducting immunogenic research in Africa.
A key fixture of the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine since its founding is Walter Bodmer, a former president of the Galton Institute. While the Galton Institute has attempted to distance itself from its past of promoting racial eugenics with surface-level public relations efforts, it has not stopped family members of the infamous racist from achieving leadership positions at the institute.
Emeritus professor of molecular genetics at the Galton Institute and one of its officers is none other than David J. Galton, whose work includes “Eugenics: The Future of Human Life in the 21st Century”. David Galton has written that the “Human Genome Mapping Project”, originally dreamt up by Galton’s former president Walter Bodmer, had “enormously increased … the scope for eugenics … because of the development of a very powerful technology for the manipulation of DNA.”
This new “wider definition of eugenics,” Galton has said, “would cover methods of regulating population numbers as well as improving genome quality by selective artificial insemination by donor, gene therapy or gene manipulation of germ-line cells.” In expanding on this new definition, Galton is neutral as to “whether some methods should be made compulsory by the state, or left entirely to the personal choice of the individual.”
Who Gets the Safest Vaccines?
Considering the degree to which the players and institutions behind the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine (including the lead developer) are tied and connected to institutions that have been instrumental in the rise and perpetuation of racial eugenics, it’s concerning that this particular vaccine is being portrayed by scientists and media alike as the covid-19 vaccine for the poor and the Global South.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine sells at a fraction of the cost of its covid-19 vaccine competitors – running between 3 and 5 dollars per dose. Moderna and Pfizer cost 25 to 37 dollars and 20 dollars per dose, respectively. As CNN recently reported, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will “be far easier to transport and distribute in developing countries than its rivals,” several of which require complicated and costly cold supply chains. When the Thomson Reuters Foundation asked several experts which covid-19 vaccine could “reach the poorest soonest,” all declared a preference for the Oxford-AstraZeneca candidate.
There is also the added fact that a host of safety issues had come to surround the vaccine. On November 21, 2020. a forty-year-old participant in AstraZeneca’s clinical trial who lives in India sent a legal notice to the Serum Institute of India alleging that the vaccine caused him to develop acute neuroencephalopathy, or brain damage. In the notice, the participant said he “needs to be compensated, in the least, for all the sufferings that he and his family have undergone and are likely to undergo in the future.”
In response, the Serum Institute claimed the participant’s medical complications are unrelated to the vaccine trial and said it would take “legal action” against the brain-damaged participant for maligning the company’s reputation, seeking damages in excess of $13 million. “This is the first time I have ever heard of a sponsor threatening a trial participant,” Amar Jesani, editor of the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, said of the incident. The Serum Institute had received at least $18.6 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and had a deal with AstraZeneca to manufacture a billion doses of the vaccine.
Other manufacturers chosen by Oxford-AstraZeneca to produce their vaccine are also no strangers to controversy. Their manufacturing partner in China, Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products, has been at the center of controversy for years, especially after seventeen infants died from its hepatitis B vaccine in 2013. The New York Times cited Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, as saying, “Imagine if a similar scandal is reported again in China…. It’s not just going to undermine the confidence of the company manufacturing the vaccine, it’s also going to hurt the reputation of AstraZeneca itself and their vaccine, too.”
In another example, the manufacturing partner chosen to produce the vaccine in the US is the scandal-ridden company with ties to the 2001 anthrax attacks, Emergent Biosolutions. Emergent Biosolutions, previously known as BioPort, has a long track record of knowingly selling and marketing products that were never tested for safety and efficacy, including its anthrax vaccine BioThrax and its biodefense product Trobigard. The current head of quality control for Emergent Biosolutions’ lead manufacturing facility in the US has no expertise in pharmaceutical manufacturing and is instead a former high-ranking military intelligence official who operated in Iraq, Afghanistan, and beyond.
The issues raised by their decision to partner with manufacturers with dark histories of product safety issues are compounded by the adverse reactions reported in the Oxford-AstraZeneca trials as well as the ways in which those trials have been conducted. In September 2020, AstraZeneca was forced to pause its experimental covid-19 vaccine trial after a woman in the UK developed a “suspected serious reaction” that the New York Times reported was consistent with transverse myelitis (TM). TM is a neurological disorder characterized by inflammation of the spinal cord, a major element of the central nervous system. It often results in weakness of the limbs, problems emptying the bladder, and paralysis. Patients can become severely disabled, and there is currently no effective cure.
Concern over an association between TM and vaccines is well established. A review of published case studies in 2009 documented thirty-seven cases of TM associated with various vaccines, including hepatitis B, measles-mumps-rubella, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, among others in infants, children, and adults. The researchers in Israel noted, “The associations of different vaccines with a single autoimmune phenomenon allude to the idea that a common denominator of these vaccines, such as an adjuvant, might trigger this syndrome.” Even the New York Times article on the AstraZeneca trial pause notes past “speculation” that vaccines might be able to trigger TM.
In July 2020, an Oxford-AstraZeneca trial participant developed symptoms of TM, and the vaccine trial was paused at that time. An “independent panel” ultimately concluded the illness was unrelated to the vaccine, and the trial continued. Yet, as Nikolai Petrovsky from Flinders University told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, these panels are typically made up of “biostatisticians and also medical representatives from the sponsor drug company running the trial.” Then, in October, a trial participant in Brazil died, though in that case, AstraZeneca suggested that the person was part of the control group and thus hadn’t received the covid-19 vaccine.
According to Forbes, the AstraZeneca vaccine was ineffective at stopping the spread of coronavirus in their animal trials. All six monkeys injected with AstraZeneca’s covid-19 vaccine became infected with the disease after being inoculated. All the monkeys were put to death, which means that it will remain unknown whether those monkeys would have suffered other adverse effects.
Another concern is that trial administrators gave the trial control group (for both human and animal trials) Pfizer’s Nimenrix, a meningitis vaccine, as opposed to a saline solution, which is regarded as the gold standard for controls because researchers can be sure the saline solution won’t cause any adverse reactions. Using Pfizer’s meningitis vaccine as the control placebo allows AstraZeneca to downplay any adverse reactions in its covid-19 vaccine group by showing that the control group suffered adverse reactions as well. “The meningitis vaccine in the AstraZeneca trial is what I would call a ‘fauxcebo,’ a fake control whose real purpose is to disguise or hide injury in the vaccine group,” said Mary Holland, general counsel at Children’s Health Defense.
Eugenics under Another Name
Despite these safety concerns and clinical trial scandals, close to 160 countries had purchased the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. As documented, while the vaccine may be heralded as “vital for lower-income countries,” the Oxford-AstraZeneca project is no mere philanthropic pursuit. Not only is there a significant profit motive behind the vaccine, but its lead researcher’s connection to the British Eugenics Society adds another level of warranted scrutiny.
For those encountering stories of eugenicists, it’s common to dismiss such activity as that of “conspiracy theories.” However, it’s undeniable that several prominent persons and institutions that remain active today have clear ties to eugenicist thinking, which was not so taboo just a few decades ago. Unfortunately, this holds true for the person and institutions associated with the Oxford-AstraZeneca covid vaccine, who, as demonstrated in this article, immerse themselves in studies of race science and population control – primarily in Africa – while working closely with institutions that have direct and longstanding links to the worst of the eugenics movement.
As it has been shown in many articles from alt-media, there are many concerns regarding the points where race and the covid-19 vaccination campaign in the US and abroad intersect, both publicly and privately. A part of these articles raised questions about the policy-shaping role of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, which suggested that the US government make covid-19 vaccines available to ethnic minorities and the mentally challenged first. Another part explained how in order to allocate covid-19 vaccines in the US, health agencies were using a program created by Palantir, a company with a record of helping the US agencies target ethnic minorities through immigration policy and racist policing.
Furthermore, there were plans in place to exercise what could reasonably be described as economic coercion to pressure people to “voluntarily” get vaccinated. Such coercion would be obviously be more effective on poor and working communities, meaning communities of color will be disproportionately affected as well.
Considering these facts, and the case for scrutinizing the safety of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s “affordable” vaccine option made above, any harm caused by vaccine allocation policy in the US and beyond is likely to disproportionately affect poor communities, especially communities of color.
As such, the public should take all vaccine rollout policy assertions with a grain of salt, even when they come cloaked in language of inclusion, racial justice, and public health preservation. As the cofounder of the American Eugenics Society (later renamed Society for the Study of Social Biology) Frederick Osborn put it in 1968, “Eugenic goals are most likely to be attained under a name other than eugenics.”
March 1, 2022