MoD failed to supervise anthrax vaccine tests
The Defense Ministry said Thursday that it will examine the Israel Medical Association's harsh report on Omer 2, the IDF's seven-year clinical trials of an Israeli-developed anthrax vaccine on 716 healthy soldiers.
The report, which the High Court of Justice approved for release late Wednesday, calls for civilian supervision of clinical experimentation and sharply criticized the defense authorities, especially the IDF, for the fact that more than 4,000 soldiers were asked, under psychological pressure, to participate without giving their informed consent.
Dozens of ex-soldiers who were vaccinated as far back as 1999 complained of skin, eye, gastrointestinal and other side effects that persist today, but none of them was examined by the IMA committee members, so it's impossible to know if their symptoms resulted from the vaccination.
Although all but one of the committee members, including panel head Prof. Reuven Porat of the Rabin Medical Center, were physicians, the committee was not asked to conduct a medical follow-up of the soldiers who claimed to have been harmed.
The clinical trials "did not meet the standards of medical experimentation," Reches continued. "The IDF Helsinki Committee had eight members, but all were military people. There could easily have been a conflict of interest," Reches told The Jerusalem Post.
"There were three types of side effects - mild reactions at the site of injection on the skin, some system problems such as headaches and symptoms of fibromyalgia, [a disorder classified by the presence of chronic widespread pain and a heightened and painful response to gentle touch], and a few cases involving the triggering of overactivity of the immune system.
Meanwhile, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, which took up the soldiers' cause after the Uvda broadcast, called the committee report's publication "an ethical earthquake" that requires an immediate halt to medical experimentation on soldiers and others.
"The cynical use of the soldier population, exploiting their subservience to the military system and their high patriotic motivation, points to the fallacy of leaving decisions about medical experiments on human beings in the hands of the defense establishment,
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