Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks

Science has apparently gotten a hold the results of a 10 year investigation by Italian police into a "criminal vaccine ring" which includes flu researchers turned politicians and an animal vaccine company. While they don't include many details, they do summarize the charges here (sorry, may be paywalled).

Some key accusations that caught my eye:

1) The vaccine company, Merial, illegally sold a bird flu vaccine to farmers (I presume they were raising chickens). Apparently the EU forbids vaccinations, and prefers culling as a way to control outbreaks. (Hey elisethestrange, if you see this, what's the US policy?)


2) Illegal sale and smuggling of viruses to Merial, which gave them an edge in developing vaccines. The sales were deemed to be without government approval or a result of bribing officials.

3) Researchers deliberately spread the flu virus to drum up demand for vaccines. WHAT? This accusation is the most dubious, and Science points out that there is very little evidence backing this up in the report.

While I wouldn't doubt companies delving into some shady business (especially some greasing of the palms), the last accusation makes the report sound pretty out there. Especially since Science points out that the investigation seems to be without any scientific consultation, as major errors in logic or terms exist. And given the conviction of the earthquake scientists, my confidence in the Italian justice system is shaken if this does go to trial.

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