Kolyin: This is terrible, but the article says the subjects already had herpes and this was some shady vaccine trial. The title makes it sound like he was sticking random people with a herpes needle. It gets even weirder: Peter Thiel was funding this guy’s work?
Before Peter Thiel invested, research on herpes vaccine began in US hotel rooms
Latest revelation plunges dubious vaccine research further into scandal.
The researcher who conducted a controversial 2016 herpes vaccine trial on the island of St. Kitts without federal safety oversight had secretly begun the trial in the US three years earlier—in hotel rooms not far from his academic lab. That’s according to a new investigation by Kaiser Health News.
That researcher, the late Dr. William Halford of Southern Illinois University, administered shots to at least eight people with herpes in 2013. Without any federal or institutional approval or oversight, he administered the shots himself in rooms at a Holiday Inn Express and a Crowne Plaza Hotel within a short drive from SIU. Halford, who passed away from cancer in June of this year, was a microbiologist, not a physician.
Several people who received the vaccine have since complained to the FDA and SIU, reporting potential side effects. Those include large, painful rashes and becoming infected with a strain of herpes different from their initial infection.
Halford’s actions represent a flagrant violation of laws governing human clinical trials. They will likely further ensnare SIU and Halford’s company, Rational Vaccines, in controversy.
Halford’s conduct has already drawn sharp criticism and rebuke following the August report of his unapproved trial on the Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis. Experts called the trial “patently unethical.” Scientists rejected data generated by the trial from publication. And authorities from St. Kitts opened an investigation into the trial, while US authorities from Health and Human Services sent an inquiry to SIU regarding Halford’s work.
But conservative investors critical of US regulations, including PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, invested $7 million into Halford’s research based on the trial results. Those results were considered “partly wishful thinking” by scientists. But Halford painted the trial and the vaccine as a success, as did Agustín Fernández III, the co-founder of Rational Vaccines.