What is squalene, anyway?

The short answer is given here, in the organic molecule directory, alkenes page:

Squalene is found in shark liver oil, and is also a major component of the lipids on the surface of human skin. Although it is not obvious from the way the structure above is drawn, squalene is a precursor for the biosynthesis of cholesterol. Through a complex series of enzymatically controlled reactions, squalene is converted into an intermediate called lanosterol, which undergoes a number of subsequent reactions to become cholesterol.

Here is what the molecule looks like. Every angle or terminus has a carbon atom, with enough hydrogen atoms to fill the unused bonds up to carbon’s complement of four per atom. A double line indicates a double bond.

squalene_01

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Signal boost: more about squalenes

I put this into a comment but it deserves a wider readership.

squalene_01

Squalene is found in foods and your body makes it and uses it on the pathway to making cholesterol, which is a precursor to vital hormones. Your own blood contains sqalene. It is sold as a food supplement in the form of shark’s liver oil. Traces found in vaccines where it is not added appear to come from the oils left by fingerprints on laboratory glassware. The amounts found are far less than the concentration already in human blood.

The anthrax vaccine given to U.S. soldiers used aluminum hydroxide as an adjuvant. The purpose of an adjuvant is to boost immune response and allow us to use less of the antigen (disease substance that we want to become immune to). The U.S. doesn’t use squalene as an adjuvant in any vaccine. See this Q&A paper from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (Portable Document Format file).

Vaccines and chemicals

Puff the Mutant Dragon has an excellent takedown of Vaccines Have Chemicals alarmism: “Do vaccines contain toxic chemicals?” Puff considers mercury, ammonia, formaldehyde, thimerosol, aluminum, and hydrochloric acid.

In addition, Puff found a cartoon showing Jenner vaccinating people with cowpox. The results look like a humorous jab at vaccination fears.

The original vaccination in the 1800s: The Cow-Pock

But this was a serious editorial effort by the Anti-Vaccine Society, which objected to adding strange cow-derived substances into our precious bodily fluids. (Click on the picture to see a larger version.)

And yet this was a huge step up from previous inoculation procedures, which used a mild strain of smallpox with only 10% mortality to protect against the wild strains with 30% mortality.

CDC’s Pink Book

The CDC’s Pink Book, like the U.K.’s Green Book, is an excellent resource about vaccine-preventable diseases. The 2011 edition is the twelfth.

From the description:

Typical chapters include a description of the disease, pathogenesis, clinical features, laboratory diagnosis, medical management, epidemiology, risk factors, trends in the United States, vaccine details, vaccination schedule and use, contraindications and precautions to vaccination, adverse reactions following vaccination, vaccine storage and handling, and reference or publications.

The appendices are a wealth of reference materials, including minimum age and interval table, current and discontinued vaccines, ingredients tables, vaccine administration guide, etc.

You can view the chapters online:

Vaccine against melanoma?

Melanoma

Science may have developed a vaccine that encourages the body to destroy the most dangerous skin cancer, melanoma.

A vaccine is being tested in the United Kingdom. It attacks only tumour cells and also boosts the body’s response against the skin cancer. Melanoma can spread through the body before patients realize what it is.

Dr Howard Kaufman, of Chicago’s Rush University Medical Centre, is also involved in the study. He expects that the vaccine will save thousands of lives a year. In the U.K., 10,000 patients are diagnosed each year and 2,000 die.

The study looked at 50 patients with advanced melanoma who had been given no more than nine months to live. After getting the vaccine, eight of them–16%–recovered completely. Even after more than four years, the cancer hasn’t come back. For another fourteen patients–28%–tumours shank more than 50%.

The researchers hope to get further tests “fast-tracked” so that they can get the vaccine on the market within five years.

Vaccine false alarms

Who raised false alarms about vaccines and why?

Andrew Wakefield made half a million pounds for his anti-vaccine “expert testimony” and stood to make millions more on a patent for a single measles vaccine.

The mercury scare confuses methyl mercury (poisonous) with ethyl mercury (non-toxic).

Vaccine denialists, part 1

Anti-science bias rejects medical knowledge sbout vaccines and illness.

Who benefits? Sometimes, they just want to make money selling their quack remedies?

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