Another nail in Wakefield's coffinThe determined effort to discredit Dr Andrew Wakefield, the doctor who first suggested the possible link between the MMR vaccine and autism and bowel disease, took a remarkable turn yesterday. Only days after an extraordinarily harsh judgement by the GMC on the honesty and ethics of his research, the editor of the Lancet, the journal in which his original 1998 research was published, announced that he was 'retracting' the paper that fist postulated that the link between the vaccine and autism.
This is the ultimate coup of the scientific establishment: in a move that would have appealed to George Orwell's Ministry of Truth in his book '1984' the paper no longer officially exists and the history of scientific research has been re-written. What is particularly alarming is that not one jot of the scientific content of the paper has ever been challenged - only the methods the authors used to reach their findings. In defence of Wakefield and the other two doctors accused of malpractice, Professors Simon Murch and John Walker-Smith, an inquiry undertaken by the Royal Free Hospital, where their research was undertaken, found that all the investigations they performed on the autistic children were appropriate and ethical.
I am appalled and concerned at the persistent efforts of the government to stifle any debate on the safety of vaccines. This is not in the interest of parents, children or the future of scientific research.
Added 3 Feb 2010