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Considering the WHO's aspiration to strengthen and expand its role in pandemic preparedness and response, one might reasonably assume that this organization possesses the scientific knowledge and skills necessary to protect the world from emerging pathogens that spread globally. However, there is ample evidence to suggest that the WHO lacks an understanding of the pathogenesis and immune mechanisms involved in host-pathogen interactions within the human population. Their incompetence in handling infectious diseases extends not only to emerging pathogens like SARS-CoV-2 and pandemic threats like avian influenza virus (H5N1), but also to long-standing endemic pathogens such as poliovirus.
In 2019, the WHO made an erroneous declaration of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic as a "health emergency of international concern." Their response to the outbreak was characterized by panicked measures, including stringent infection-prevention protocols and mass vaccination campaigns, utilizing vaccines that are ineffective in preventing infection or transmission when administered in the midst of a pandemic. These measures not only caused immediate harm to a significant portion of the population but also facilitated the spread of more infectious viral variants that evaded the pressure exerted on the virus.
Similarly, between 2014 and 2016, the WHO disregarded the transmission dynamics of the Ebola virus and erroneously declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a "health emergency of international concern." They conducted clinical ring vaccination trials using an experimental live vectorized vaccine. The clinical protocol allowed for the immunization of study participants during the disease's incubation period or while they were still at high risk of exposure, resulting in vaccine-induced fatalities. These deaths occurred before the study protocol permitted an assessment of vaccine efficacy. However, the WHO's clinical investigators dismissed these fatalities and instead published in The Lancet that the vaccine was 100% effective. To this day, the WHO has refused to disclose the overall case fatality rate in the vaccinated group compared to the control group.
The WHO's recommendations for seasonal influenza vaccination do not seem to take into account the growing circulation of avian influenza viruses. Although long-lasting vaccine- induced antibodies against seasonal flu virus cannot neutralize avian influenza viruses, they can bind to them, thereby facilitating the entry of the virus into susceptible human cells. Consequently, it is highly likely that vaccine-induced antibodies against seasonal influenza virus enable avian influenza viruses to cause severe disease in humans.
In 1988, the WHO committed to globally eradicating poliomyelitis by 2000. However, twenty- three years later, their objectives and projections remain unrealized. Substantial amounts of funding have been spent on various types of live attenuated oral vaccines and inactivated polio vaccines. As a result of this trial-and-error approach, cases of poliomyelitis are now increasingly provoked by vaccine-derived strains rather than wild poliovirus. The widespread use of
inactivated polio vaccines to address this issue is now paving the way for dangerous immune escape variants.
Until now, the WHO has failed to recognize that it is impossible to eradicate viruses like poliovirus, which can spread asymptomatically and abundantly recombine in the environment. They have also failed to acknowledge that vaccines have no role in pandemics caused by acute viral infections such as coronaviruses or influenza viruses. Without universal vaccines, vaccination cannot prevent such pandemics, and without vaccines that induce sterilizing immunity, vaccination cannot bring an end to such pandemics.
Given these glaring examples of incompetence, granting even more authority to the WHO would only lead to further global health disasters. The proposal for a pandemic treaty and the amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHR) are merely an exercise in empowering bureaucrats heavily influenced by conflicts of interest. These initiatives are completely disconnected from scientific considerations and focus on controlling the global health landscape rather than controlling the virus. It is not only necessary for national delegates to withdraw from the World Health Assembly but also for countries to halt the massive flow of funding into dysfunctional global health organizations like the WHO. This has now become a genuine health emergency of international concern.
Geert Vanden Bossche received his DVM from the University of Ghent, Belgium, and his PhD degree in Virology from the University of Hohenheim, Germany. He held adjunct faculty appointments at universities in Belgium and Germany. After his career in Academia, Geert joined several vaccine companies (GSK Biologicals, Novartis Vaccines, Solvay Biologicals) to serve various roles in vaccine R&D as well as in late vaccine development.
Geert then moved on to join the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Health Discovery team in Seattle (USA) as Senior Program Officer; he then worked with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) in Geneva as Senior Ebola Program Manager. At GAVI he tracked efforts to develop an Ebola vaccine. He also represented GAVI in fora with other partners, including WHO, to review progress on the fight against Ebola and to build plans for global pandemic preparedness.
Back in 2015, Geert scrutinized and questioned the safety of the Ebola vaccine that was used in ring vaccination trials conducted by WHO in Guinea. His critical scientific analysis and report on the data published by WHO in the Lancet in 2015 was sent to all international health and regulatory authorities involved in the Ebola vaccination program. After working for GAVI, Geert joined the German Center for Infection Research in Cologne as Head of the Vaccine Development Office. He is at present primarily serving as a Biotech / Vaccine consultant while also conducting his own research on Natural Killer cell-based vaccines.