Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld is an immunologist who heads the Zabludowicz Center for Autoimmune Diseases, which was created by Poju Zabludowicz. He is also on the scientific advisory board for the Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute.
He claims to have discovered a novel vaccine-associated autoimmune disease – Autoimmune Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants (ASIA).
The History of Adjuvant Diseases
Shoenfeld’s Autoimmune Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants is not the first time that adjuvants have been blamed for causing diseases in people.
As far back as 1964, Kan Miyoshi had written about “human adjuvant disease” following augmentation with silicone breast implants. Silicone gel-filled breast implants were eventually removed from the market, following case reports describing an association and years of lawsuits against manufacturers, but more studies were done that found that “there was no evidence that silicone breast implants caused systemic health effects such as cancer or autoimmune disease.”
So gel-filled breast implants came back, but unfortunately, the idea of “human adjuvant disease” never really went away.
Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld and Vaccines
Dr. Shoenfeld is the latest to blame adjuvants for causing disease.
“At present, there is no evidence to suggest that ASIA syndrome is a viable explanation for unusual autoimmune diseases.”
David Hawkes on Revisiting adverse reactions to vaccines: A critical appraisal of Autoimmune Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants (ASIA)
It has helped him to become very well known among the modern anti-vaccine movement, a hero to some, who use his new vaccine-associated autoimmune diseases as a reason to scare parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.
Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld Studies
Among the studies published by Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld include:
- Human papilloma virus and lupus: the virus, the vaccine and the disease.
- Journal of Autoimmunity. Seasonality and autoimmune diseases: The contribution of the four seasons to the mosaic of autoimmunity.
- Current Opinions in Rheumatology. Autoimmune/Inflammatory Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants and Thyroid Autoimmunity.
- Lupus.Autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants (Shoenfeld’s syndrome) – An update.
- Immunologic Research. Phospholipid supplementation can attenuate vaccine-induced depressive-like behavior in mice.
- Behavioral abnormalities in female mice following administration of aluminum adjuvants and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil.
- Immunologic Research. Pancreatitis after human papillomavirus vaccination: a matter of molecular mimicry.
- Israel Medical Association Journal. Autoimmune/Inflammatory Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants and Sjögren’s Syndrome.
- Immunologic Research. Adjuvants and lymphoma risk as part of the ASIA spectrum.
- Journal of Autoimmunity. Immunization with hepatitis B vaccine accelerates SLE-like disease in a murine model.
- Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia With Chronic Fatigue After HPV Vaccination as Part of the “Autoimmune/Auto-inflammatory Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants”: Case Report and Literature Review.
- Immunity, autoimmunity and inflammatory bowel disease.
- Lupus. When APS (Hughes syndrome) met the autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants (ASIA).
- Brief report: immune factors in autism: a critical review.
So, among the things that Shoenfeld seems to link to vaccine adjuvants include the development of primary ovarian insufficiency, depression, autism, pancreatitis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjögren syndrome, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, subacute thyroiditis, antiphospholipid syndrome, transverse myelitis, lymphoma, POTS, and antiphospholipid antibody syndrome.
How does he do it? Mostly through experiments on mice and small case reports.
Also it seems, sometimes by a little misdirection.
“A cohort study was performed to assess the risk of new onset autoimmune disease in young women exposed to human papillomavirus-16/18 AS04-adjuvanted vaccine in the United Kingdom (55). The study reported an incidence rate ratio (95% CI) of 3.75 (1.25–11.31) for autoimmune thyroiditis among females.”
Yehuda Shoenfeld on Autoimmune/Inflammatory Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants and Thyroid Autoimmunity
Shoenfeld’s article on “Autoimmune/Inflammatory Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants and Thyroid Autoimmunity,” actually cites a study which concluded that “There was no evidence of an increased risk of AD in women aged 9 to 25 years after AS04-HPV-16/18 vaccination.”
Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld Controversies
Among the biggest problems with the work of Dr. Shoenfeld are claims that:
- he receives funding for his research from the Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute, who’s founder once said that “Vaccines are a holocaust of poison on our children’s brains and immune systems.” Even his book, Vaccines and Autoimmunity, was funded by the CMSRI. His conferences are also sponsored by the CMSRI, including the International Congress on Autoimmunity and the International Symposium on Vaccines.
- he seems to get many of his studies published in what experts describe as predatory open access journals
- he seems to get many of his studies published in journals on which he sits on the journal’s editorial board, a potential conflict of interest, including Autoimmunity Reviews (founder and editor), the Journal of Autoimmunity (co-editor), and the Israel Medical Association Journal (founder and editor), Immunologic Research (topic editor for Immunoregulation and Autoimmunity), Lupus (Editorial Board). It is usually considered a better practice to get an outside editor in these situations, instead of editing your own articles.
- at least one of the journals he edits, Autoimmunity Reviews, is said to be very sympathetic to anti-vaccine studies
- he serves as an expert witness in vaccine injury lawsuits, another potential conflict of interest
- at least one Shoenfeld study was retracted after it was published
- none of his ASIA studies are in more high impact journals, such as The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, or Annual Review of Immunology, etc.
- many of his collaborators are also funded by CMSRI
The biggest issue is that adjuvants in vaccines are being made to be seen as a problem by anti-vaccine folks, even as Shoenfeld claims that “vaccines are beneficial for the vast majority of subjects including those who suffer from autoimmune-rheumatic diseases,” and even he finds problems in only “a small minority of individuals.”
“It reminds us that due to the ubiquitous nature of the innate and adaptive response, that there are a large number of diseases that have either an inflammatory and/or specific autoimmune response, we have to keep an open eye because everything is potentially autoimmune until proven otherwise.”
Yehuda Shoenfeld on Everything is Autoimmune Until Proven Otherwise
It was another Shoenfeld study that suggested that the HPV vaccine could cause primary ovarian insufficiency. Shoenfeld’s “link” between the HPV vaccine and primary ovarian insufficiency was based on a review of only three case studies, for which he was the expert witness in lawsuits for two of the cases!
Most importantly, many studies have failed to confirm Shoenfeld’s link between the HPV vaccine and primary ovarian insufficiency and much of his other work:
- HPV vaccination and risk of chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis: A nationwide register-based study from Norway – no increased risk
- Vaccinations in early life are not associated with development of islet autoimmunity in type 1 diabetes high-risk children: Results from prospective cohort data
- Autoimmune, neurological, and venous thromboembolic adverse events after immunisation of adolescent girls with quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine in Denmark and Sweden: cohort study – This large cohort study found no evidence supporting associations between exposure to qHPV vaccine and autoimmune, neurological, and venous thromboembolic adverse events.
- Safety of vaccine adjuvants: Focus on autoimmunity – this review found “No compelling evidence was found associating adjuvants and autoimmunity in humans.”
- Revisiting adverse reactions to vaccines: A critical appraisal of Autoimmune Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants (ASIA) – concluded that “there is currently a lack of reproducible evidence for any consistent relationship between adjuvant and autoimmune condition.”
- Human papillomavirus vaccination and risk of autoimmune diseases: A large cohort study of over 2 million young girls in France – reassuring results regarding the risk of AID after HPV vaccination
- Incidence of new-onset autoimmune disease in girls and women with pre-existing autoimmune disease after quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccination: a cohort study – no increased risk, even after an additional 25 autoimmune diseases were added to the study to satisfy criticism from Dr. Shoenfeld
- Bivalent human papillomavirus vaccine and the risk of fatigue syndromes in girls in the UK – no association
Like his idea of novel vaccine-associated autoimmune disease (ASIA), which he still pushes, it was proven otherwise.
Dr. Shoenfeld Is on the Wrong Side of the Vaccine Debate
Dr. Shoenfeld’s characterization of the vaccine debate will likely surprise many of his followers.
“On the one hand, we find anti-vaccination movements, which divulge and disseminate misleading information, myths, prejudices, and even frauds, with the main aim of denying that vaccination practices represent a major public health measure, being effective in controlling infectious diseases and safeguarding the wellbeing of entire communities.”
Shoenfeld et al. on Debate on vaccines and autoimmunity: Do not attack the author, yet discuss it methodologically
His characterization that most vaccine safety research is potentially biased because it is “mainly financed and sponsored by pharmaceutical industries” is also surprising, or maybe just ironic, considering of where he gets his funding.
“Instead of focusing on methodological issues and content, the ‘‘prevailing wisdom” has put to rest any view that would contradict the sacred ‘‘doctrine” of vaccinology.”
Shoenfeld et al. on Debate on vaccines and autoimmunity: Do not attack the author, yet discuss it methodologically
His conclusions of why his studies are criticized are also very wrong.
“…we feel that the continued presentation of a theory without evidence in both medico-legal and scientific forums is detrimental to the exploration of further understanding of the causational factors of a patient’s condition.”
D. Hawkes et al. on Response to: HPV vaccine and autoimmunity
It is the “actual science” of his studies that is “being methodologically assessed and critiqued.” And it has been found to be lacking.
What To Know About Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld
With funding from the CMSRI and the Zabludowicz Center for Autoimmune Diseases, Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld has folks falsely believing that adjuvants in vaccines are causing autoimmune diseases – his Autoimmune Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants (ASIA).
More About Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld
- Antivaccinationists against the HPV vaccine, Round 5,000
- Revisiting adverse reactions to vaccines: A critical appraisal of Autoimmune Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants (ASIA)
- Comment on “Do aluminum vaccine adjuvants contribute to the rising prevalence of autism?”
- Undisclosed Conflicts of Interest in Vaccine Research
- Vaccine injury compensation and autoimmune syndromes
- HPV vaccine and lupus – bad expert testimony in a lawsuit
- HPV vaccine causes primary ovarian insufficiency – myth
- No, Gardasil does not cause behavioral problems
- Another anti-vaccine article – bad journal, bad data
- Study – Human papillomavirus vaccination and primary ovarian insufficiency: an association based on ideology rather than evidence.
- HPV vaccines: EMA confirms evidence does not support that they cause CRPS or POTS
- Editorial – Everything is autoimmune until proven otherwise.
- Editorial – The spectrum of ASIA: ‘Autoimmune (Auto-inflammatory) Syndrome induced by Adjuvants
- Commentary – Debate on vaccines and autoimmunity: Do not attack the author, yet discuss it methodologically.
- Letter – Response to: HPV vaccine and autoimmunity Incidence of new-onset autoimmune disease in girls and women with pre-existing autoimmune disease after quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccination: a cohort study
- Letter – Authors’ response: Letter to the Editor – HPV vaccine and autoimmunity
- Study – Risk of new onset autoimmune disease in 9- to 25-year-old women exposed to human papillomavirus-16/18 AS04-adjuvanted vaccine in the United Kingdom
- Review – Consequence or coincidence?: The occurrence, pathogenesis and significance of autoimmune manifestations after viral vaccines