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News of the Day ... In Perspective

8/14/2007

Israeli soldiers complain of adverse anthrax vaccine effects, unethical human experimentation

Soldiers from elite unit have submitted a petition to Israel’s High Court of Justice, demanding that the army accept responsibility for treating the illnesses allegedly resulting from an experimental anthrax vaccine, and that it reveal the secret experiment’s decision-making process and supervision mechanism.

Petitioners suffer from skin and respiratory complaints, among other ailments.

In the course of an 8-year experiment code-named Omer 2, which began in 1998, 25% of the soldiers were injected with American-made vaccine and 75% with a previously untested Israeli vaccine. Soldiers in both groups suffered persistent symptoms.

Public health laws require that physicians may not conduct experiments on persons subject to their authority except under the supervision of the Helsinki Committee and the Health Ministry’s pharmaceutical division. Omer 2 is said to have violated both conditions. (Haaretz 2/27/07).

U.S. research on anthrax vaccine was criticized in oral testimony before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Health, by Meryl Nass, M.D., on July 26. She stated that research on Gulf War syndrome and anthrax vaccine was unusable because the wrong questions were asked; data were withheld; sample sizes were inadequate; and control groups contained exposed subjects while exposed groups contained unexposed subjects.

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