The history of one fake anti-vaccine researcher after another permeates the anti-vaccine religion – it is legendary. We have the multiple-retracted authors, Shaw and Tomljenovic who think that the HPV vaccine is dangerous. They keep pushing this trope, but they really present no clinical evidence to support their beliefs, and they are mocked mercilessly for their poor science. And then their fake research is retracted.
Now there’s a new paper being pushed by the anti-vaccine world published online in the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics. which pushes the implausible narrative that a review of cervical cancer incidence in Sweden shows that HPV vaccine increases the risk of cancer. We will get to a discussion of the data in a bit, let’s look at the big issue with paper – the author himself.
The fake anti-vaccine researcher
When this article first went online, the author, Lars Andersson claimed that he was in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the Swedish Karolinska Institute, one of the most prestigious medical universities in the world. An author with that type of background would be impressive, and the research would have to at least be respected.
Unfortunately for “Lars,” the Karolinska Institute prefers that people who claim that they are affiliated with them actually should be affiliated with them. A Swedish medical newspaper, Läkartidningen, reported what they thought about this (translated from Swedish by Paul Davis):
A suspected false scientist disseminates antivaccine and disinformation about Karolinska Institutet (KI) via an international journal. Now the university’s communications department takes action to minimize the damage.
The article appears in the Journal of Medical Ethics authored by “Lars Andersson, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at Karolinska Institutet”, claiming that HPV vaccination can be the result of an increase in cervical cancer cases seen regionally in recent years as previously reported in other journals.
Joakim Dillner, professor of infectious epidemiology at Karolinska Institutet and register holder for the National Quality Register for Cervical Cancer Prevention and Analysis, says, however, to the Medical Journal that there is nothing in the allegations that the increase would be due to HPV vaccination.
The article was published in late April and the content is spread now, including via the controversial Dental Disease Association (unsure of this one, but the translation is correct), which previously became known to express vaccine resistance.
However, when Läkartidningen contacts representatives of the institution that “Lars Andersson” claims to belong, they have never heard of him.
“I have never heard of this Lars Andersson and he has nothing to do with our institution,” said Håkan Westerblad, head of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at Karolinska Institutet.
Later, he says that the university’s communications department is now taking action to reduce the damage that this may cause.
“It is very sad that Karolinska institutet and our institution are utilized in this way,” he says.
In other words, this guy lied about his affiliation with the Karolinska Institute. At that moment we should dismiss this article outright, because if the author lies about himself at such a basic level, how are we to trust them? At a minimum, he deceived the journal.
So what did the Indian Journal Medical Ethics do next? Well, according to Retraction Watch,
The comment “Increased incidence of cervical cancer in Sweden: Possible link with HPV vaccination” was published in the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics online on April 30, 2018. The author gave his name as Lars Andersson, in the department of physiology and pharmacology, Karolinska Institute (KI), Sweden.
On May 8, the KI informed us that its department of physiology and pharmacology did not have any person of this name and requested us to remove the name of the institution. So, on the same day a correction was carried out and the name of KI was removed and duly intimated to KI.
Since then, we have investigated and learned the identity of the author. The author has said that he used a pseudonym because he believed the use of his real name would have invited personal repercussions from those opposed to any questioning of vaccines.
This deception of the journal’s editors is unacceptable. The author could have asked the editors for confidentiality, giving the reasons. Editors may choose to publish articles without revealing the true name of the author, if it is determined that the circumstances justify it.
However, we considered the matter and decided to keep the article on the site as the issues raised by it are important and discussion on it is in the public interest. The author’s true name is withheld at his request.
Oh, that’s just rich – an anti-vaccine advocate is worried about criticism. What a snowflake! Pro-science people, like the highly respected scientist and pediatrician Paul Offit, publish real articles with their full name for all to see. Dr. Offit has to put up with withering, disgusting personal attacks over and over again. Because real scientists publish real science in the bright lights of scientific criticism.
Let’s be blunt. Lars Andersson, irrespective of his real name and qualifications, is a fraud. We know nothing about him – is he an epidemiologist? Well, based on this article, he’s nothing more than an amateur. Does he even have a scientific background? Doubtful – he sounds like every anti-vaccine fanatic.
Fake anti-vaccine researcher – bad research
Although it’s difficult to give good faith to the fake anti-vaccine researcher, coward, and liar, let’s assume that the article was actually written by a Karolinska Institute researcher. Oh wait, that’s nearly impossible because KI is a high-class institution, and it was angry that it was associated with an anti-vaccine article.
As KI stated, the “research” presented by the fake anti-vaccine researcher in no way shows that there is a link between the HPV vaccine and cancer. Well, we do have powerful evidence, some of it from Sweden’s neighbor Finland, that the HPV vaccine prevents cancer. So there is a link, but it’s a negative one – the HPV vaccine reduces the risk of cancer.
According to Vince Iannelli, MD, at Vaxopedia, an outstanding resource for anti-vaccine propaganda,
In addition to fake credentials, the author came to bogus conclusions, as although there has been an increase in rates of cervical cancer in some of the smaller counties in Sweden, it is thought to be due to differences in regional cancer prevention. To put it more simply, if it was due to getting vaccinated, then since immunization rates aren’t that different in those counties (just like immunization rates vs autism rates in the United States), then why didn’t rates of cervical cancer go up everywhere?
This is why real epidemiologists don’t do population studies and prefer case-control and retrospective cohort studies – they allow you to compare unvaccinated and vaccinated populations directly. The fake anti-vaccine researcher, without examining any confounding data claims that HPV vaccination increased and cancer diagnoses increased, obviously linked. No, it’s not.
Once again, Dr. Iannelli states,
Of note, Sweden, recently had the highest participation in their cervical cancer screening program ever, at 82.4% of the population.
In other words, cervical cancer incidence increased as a result of more screening, which is an independent variable that has nothing to do with vaccines. A proper study would have taken a random 100,000 vaccinated women and compared them to a random 100,000 unvaccinated women, and reviewed the incidence of pre-cancerous lesions – oh wait, several studies have done that and showed that the HPV vaccine actually prevents cancer.
No wonder the Karolinska Institute did all it could to disassociate themselves from this junk science.
This is simple – a fake anti-vaccine researcher, a coward, and fraud, decides to publish a paper that tells us absolutely nothing about the HPV vaccine. The anti-vaccine religion, lacking any evidence for any of their beliefs about the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness, jump on to a bad article published in an anti-vaccine journal.
Another anti-vaccine fail.