One point I’ve long made about so-called “alternative” medicine is how many of its precepts are more religious than rational or scientific in nature. In particular, a huge part of alternative medicine relies on the concept that “contamination” (these days more frequently referred to as “toxins”) cause most, if not all, disease. Indeed, nearly five years ago, I was discussing how the various “detoxification” regimens that make up so much of alternative medicine (and, not coincidentally, the basis of many treatments for many conditions—like autism—that antivaxxers used to attribute to vaccines) have more in common with religious ritual purification rituals than they do with science or medicine. This concept of “purity” versus “contamination” (implied to be with evil) also has a lot to do with the idea that “natural immunity” to a disease (which in reality should be called post-infection immunity given that vaccine-induced immunity is natural) and has infected the discourse over COVID-19 vaccines, so much so that one of my go-to video clips when discussing this topic is of Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper from one of my favorite movies of all time, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb explaining how fluoridation is a Communist plot to “sap and impurify” the “precious bodily fluids” of real Americans, mainly because anti-fluoridation, antivaccine, and anti-GMO pseudoscience all tap into the alternative medicine fear of “contamination” as a cause of ill health and “purity of essence” (again, from Dr. Strangelove) as key to good health. Not coincidentally, concepts of “contamination” versus “purity” are also behind the fear stoked by antivaxxers that mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines “permanently alter” your DNA, thus contaminating and corrupting it with evil (the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein).

There is, however, another, darker, side to this concept of “contamination” or “corruption” as a cause of illness and “purity” as an indication of health, and it’s a concept that’s been supercharged since the COVID-19 pandemic began. I realize that Mike Adams is always an easy target—some might argue that he’s too easy a target—but I often cite his website, Natural News, because it doesn’t say anything that other antivaxxers and quacks aren’t saying. Rather, it just takes what other antivaxxers are saying and cranks it up to 11.

Mike Adams and his disinformation machine

Mike Adams bragging about his disinformation machine Natural News.

The example comes from this article, Only PUREBLOODS will survive the vaccine / radiation holocaust being unleashed against humanity… the spike protein in vaccines causes genetic DISINTEGRATION:

Today’s podcast is a bombshell that needs to be understood by anyone hoping to survive the vaccine holocaust, because it’s really a “genetic bomb” against humanity.

The vaccine, by suppressing the natural DNA repair mechanism in the body — known as NHEJ, or Non-Homologous End Joining—makes people highly susceptible to devastating, cancerous mutations—even when exposed to very low levels of ionizing radiation such as sunlight exposure or mammography. With NHEJ suppressed by the spike protein, the body can no longer repair its damaged DNA, and cells mutate out of control, devastating the entire body and bringing about genetic disintegration of the organism.

The study documenting all this was published in the MDPI journal “Viruses” and was carried out by scientists at Stockholm University, Sweden:

I’ll discuss the cited study briefly in a moment. Suffice to say that, even if its in vitro cell culture findings were to pan out more generally, this study does not show anything of the sort and, in fact, is a rather crappy crappy study. I won’t explain why details here, but if you really want to know the gory details, you can read this deconstruction. (Since then, I’ve also realized that the authors of this study have no clue about how the immune system works.) It has, however, been embraced by antivaxxers to claim that mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines cause cancer.

As I said, though, Adams is just turning up to 11 the conspiracy noise of antivaxxers dating back months during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is just an echo of longstanding concepts in the natural health and antivaccine movement of “purity” versus “corruption” and “contamination”. (Indeed, it’s a very ancient concept that’s long been used to trace royal lineages and “pure” bloodlines.) When I first saw this concept being applied to COVID-19 vaccination, it quite quickly reminded me of all manner of fascist ideas about “purebloods” and “racial purity”. Indeed, a few months ago, when mainstream media first took note, the concept of unvaccinated “purebloods” was appearing on social media, in particular on Tik Tok, invoking concepts from the Harry Potter novels and movies:

The term “pureblood” doesn’t exactly have the best connotations. But now unvaccinated people on TikTok are, er, trying to reclaim the term as a way to tout their “superiority” over their jabbed fellow citizens.

The phrase was popularized by J.K. Rowling’s villain Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter series as a way to distinguish between those with “pure” wizard ancestry and everyone else, drawing parallels with the Nazi doctrine of the “master race.” As a concept, basically, it’s been used to justify some of the worst crimes against humanity in history.

The new “pureblood” trend seems to have gotten a big boost from conservative TikToker influencer Lyndsey Marie in a post shared last week replete with hashtags like #harrypotter, #pureblood, and #unvaccinated.

“From now on, I refuse to be referred to as ‘unvaccinated,'” she declared. “I want everyone to now call me Pureblood.”

Here’s an example:

When I first encountered antivaxxers using this term from the fictional universe of Harry Potter, I was somewhat amused—while still being simultaneously appalled—at how utterly unconcerned they seemed (and continue to seem) how by embracing the whole concept of “purebloods” versus “mudbloods“, a highly derogatory term in the Harry Potter universe for a Muggle-born wizard or witch (Muggle meaning a person born to nonmagical parents and possessing no magical abilities) or “half-bloods“, a term denoting wizards or witches with Muggle parents or relatives in their recent lineage (e.g., grandparents, etc.) was not-so-subtly echoing Nazi ideology. After all, it’s not as though it wasn’t incredibly clear in the Harry Potter novels and movies that the magical “pureblood”/”mudblood” dichotomy was a very obvious metaphor for Nazi ideas about racial “purity” and superiority, with the Muggles being viewed by Voldemort and his followers as inferiors who were “contaminating” the pure wizard race, complete with a horror on the part of Voldemort at the thought of magical people mating with Muggles and having children that was every bit as strong as the disgust that Nazis expressed at Jews mixing with “pure Aryans”. In brief, there’s a reason why it was the villains, not the heroes, in the Harry Potter universe who so proudly used the term “pureblood” versus the disdainful term “mudblood”.

I’ve alluded to antivaxxers proudly co-opting the term “pureblood” before, but I want to explore in a bit more detail how “natural health” and antivaccine ideology naturally lead to such a term. In this, I have to disagree with Alan Levinovitz, associate professor of religious studies at James Madison University and author of Natural: How Faith in Nature’s Goodness Leads to Harmful Fads, Unjust Laws, and Flawed Science, when he argued:

Troubled observers have variously tied this term to the Harry Potter franchise (in which purebloods are Wizards untainted by muggle ancestry) and the eugenic Nazi fantasies of pure Aryan blood. But both comparisons miss the mark. The meaning of the hashtag is inseparable from vaccine refusers’ strong preference for “natural immunity,” a seemingly innocuous term that is actually a centerpiece of anti-vaccination ideology and ought to be abandoned immediately.

While Levinovitz is correct that the use of the term “pureblood” by antivaxxers does reflect a strong preference in antivax ideology for “natural immunity” (as I agreed when I quoted him), it also reflects an inherent acceptance of the concept (that predates Nazi-ism) of “purity of essence” and “pure blood” that to antivaxxers indicate health (and superiority) that must not be “contaminated” with anything as awful (to antivaxxers) as a vaccine. Similarly, if that “pure blood” is somehow contaminated, then it must somehow be “purified” (i.e., “decontaminated” or “detoxified”—or ritually purified) in order for one to reclaim a “natural” state of health and superiority, just as those who have sinned must, in some religions, atone through rituals designed to “purify” them.

I’ll discuss a couple of examples.

“Detoxification” of vaccines

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a story making the rounds about how, with COVID-19 vaccine mandates spreading, leading some antivaxxers to make the choice to be vaccinated or lose their jobs, some are scrambling to “undo” their vaccinations through “detoxification” treatments:

In a TikTok video that has garnered hundreds of thousands of views, Dr. Carrie Madej outlined the ingredients for a bath she said will “detox the vaxx” for people who have given into Covid-19 vaccine mandates.

The ingredients in the bath are mostly not harmful, although the supposed benefits attached to them are entirely fictional. Baking soda and epsom salts, she falsely claims, will provide a “radiation detox” to remove radiation Madej falsely believes is activated by the vaccine. Bentonite clay will add a “major pull of poison,” she says, based on a mistaken idea in anti-vaccine communities that toxins can be removed from the body with certain therapies.

Then, she recommends adding in one cup of borax, a cleaning agent that’s been banned as a food additive by the Food and Drug Administration, to “take nanotechnologies out of you.”

In reality, in addition to being potentially harmful as a skin and eye irritant, a borax “detox bath” will not remove the effects of the Covid vaccine from your body.

I first discussed Dr. Carrie Madej before (almost a year ago, believe it or not). Even among COVID-19 contrarians, deniers, cranks, and antivaxxers, she stands out. She’s on record as not just saying that mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines will “permanently alter your DNA” but that they are, in fact transhumanism. You might recall that I also briefly discussed how transhumanism is social, scientific, and philosophical movement devoted to the idea that humans can be enhanced by technology, be it biological, computer-based, or physical. The idea is that such technologies would augment or increase human perception, physical abilities, intelligence, and cognition, and also radically improve human health and extend human life spans. Unsurprisingly, the movement’s adherents tend to be employed in technology, biotech, and academia, and there is a strong link between libertarianism and transhumanism. The ultimate outcome is thought to be the “singularity”, a time when computers become so advanced that artificial intelligence transcends human intelligence, potentially erasing the boundary between humanity and computers, even leading to the merging of humans and computers. I also pointed out how I’ve always looked a bit askance at transhumanism, because I have without a doubt encountered a lot of woo in the movement over the years.

Still, one can’t help but note a bit of disconnect here. If, as Madej claims, mRNA vaccines “alter your DNA” so much that they are “transhumanism” and can make you somehow different than human (to the point where she claimed that these vaccines could make one into a “genetically modified human”), then how on earth are a pleasant salt bath with Borax and consuming a bit of bentonite clay going to reverse that? If, as Madej was also claiming a year ago, mRNA vaccines actually insert tracking nanotechnology—which Madej has referred to as “branding”, as in “we’re all going to be branded” with this tech—into your bloodstream, a nice salt bath and consuming some clay are not going to get those pesky nanobots out of your bloodstream; that is, unless they can somehow leach them through the skin and lining of the gastrointestinal tract.

Of course, Borax baths and clay consumption are generally not likely to cause significant harm. The bath might be relaxing, and you’ll be clean afterwards, while the clay will just pass through your GI tract. Elsewhere, there are more potentially harmful suggestions, for instance at the website of an MD who also has an ND (and is therefore a naturopath), Valerie (Richey) Bazylewicz MD, ND of The Healthy Path clinic near Cincinnati. She has a post about “vaccine detoxification” that includes all the antivax tropes about vaccines containing “toxins” such as mercury (not in childhood vaccines for nearly 20 years), “aborted baby cells”, formaldehyde, antifreeze, alcohol (wait, you don’t drink wine or beer?), and more, warning, ominously:

All vaccines and covid shots contain many harmful substances such as mercury, thimerosal, aluminum, dangerous chemicals, polyethylene glycol and lipids (to help transport toxins into brain), etc. They are usually grown on cell lines from aborted fetal tissue. Also, animal cells contain species-specific virusesthat cause diseases in humans. The covid shots contain either manufactured mRNA (Pfizer and Moderna) or manufactured DNA with adenovirus (Johnson & Johnson, Astrazenica [sic]) that have never been studied in humans until now. Keep in mind that harmful components of vaccines can be removed with vaccination detoxification, but any changes to your DNA that may have occurred from the covid shot appear to be irreversible.

She also repeats the false claim that COVID-19 vaccines are not, in fact, “real” vaccines but gene therapy:

Please note that the covid shots are not actually vaccines because they do not contain any covid virus as per the legal definition of vaccines. At this time, these shots are experimental for emergency use only; they are not FDA approved. Comirnaty was FDA approved, but it is not available anywhere. Thus, all covid shots available on the market now are not FDA approved; they are experimental and authorized for emergency use only.

All of the covid shots are designed to hijack your genetic machinery and even possibly change your DNA in order to produce spike proteins that cause the covid disease. In other words, they are turning you into a genetically modified organismor transhuman which produces the spike protein that actually gives you the disease that you think that you are preventing. And there is no shut off mechanism included in the shot.

I’ve discussed the false claim that mRNA- and adenovirus-based vaccines are not vaccines but “gene therapy” before, as well as the false claims that the available Pfizer vaccine is not the FDA-approved vaccine; that the vaccine gives you COVID; that tens of thousands have been killed by the vaccines; etc. It’s all nonsense, basically standard antivax talking points. But what is this “detox”?

So what is the “vaccine detox,” though? It’s really not very impressive and includes:

  1. Eat a “healthy organic diet”.
  2. Avoid “toxins”, which apparently include “fragrances (perfumes, beauty products, fabric softeners, cleaning products, room/car fresheners, etc), candles (beeswax candles are OK), automobile exhaust, unnecessary medications, and so much more”.
  3. Use supplements from a company called Research Nutritionals, including Cytoquel, TriFortify Glutathione, C-RLA (Liposomal C & R-Lipoic Acid) Vanilla Caramel, ToxinPul, and MycoPul.

Particularly odd:

Make a paste with one or two opened capsule(s) of MycoPul (see above) and oil (such as coconut oil or olive oil) and then generously apply to the injection site immediately after the injection and cover with a large bandage. Reapply about every 6-8 hours for the next 3 days.

MycoPul includes:

  • Humic and Fulvic powder blend with trace minerals
  • Activated Charcoal
  • G-PUR® purified Zeolite (Clinoptilolite)
  • Microchitosan
  • Silica

Nope, there’s no evidence that any of this will work. As they say, once you’re vaccinated, you can’t “unring the bell,” so to speak. You’re vaccinated.

Unfortunately, again, none of this is new. It’s also not a coincidence that many of the treatments for “vaccine-induced autism” or any other condition falsely attributed to vaccines are represented as “detoxification”. They are basically purges, to purge the “evil humors” that antivaxers believe vaccines to be packed full of. It’s not for nothing that I’ve frequently described alternative medicine “detoxification” as being akin to ritual purification of the sort found in many different religions. Think of chelation therapy and all the “detoxification” treatments used by autism quacks as basically an effort to restore the purity of the child’s precious bodily fluids. It should thus not be surprising that COVID-19 treatments are no different.

Back in the day, I used to blog about quack treatments that fell under the rubric of what antivaxxers like to call “autism biomed”. Going back to the days before the pandemic when the main pseudoscientific unsupported claim made by antivaxxers was that childhood vaccines cause autism, there was a whole subset of quackery known as “autism biomed” that was based on “reversing” the effects of vaccines, specifically “vaccine-induced autism”. I’m not going to recount the abundant evidence that there is no detectable increase in autism risk associated with vaccines, such as the MMR vaccine, or with vaccine ingredients, such as the mercury in the thimerosal preservative that used to be in some childhood vaccines up until 20 years ago.

A major component of “autism biomed” involved “detoxification” of the “toxins”, be they mercury, formaldehyde (in some vaccines in tiny amounts), or whatever. For mercury, it involved chelation therapy, which was supposed to remove the mercury from vaccines and thereby reverse autism. For other “toxins”, there were all manner of “detoxification” protocols coupled with hormonal manipulations like the use of secretin. The results of “autism biomed” could at times be truly horrific, as exemplified by, for example, the case of Alex Spourdalakis. In reality, as I wrote 12 years ago, “autism biomed”, when you boil it all down, is uncontrolled and unethical experimentation on autistic children, complete with bogus medical tests practically guaranteed to demonstrate various forms of “toxicity” that are supposedly the “root cause” of autism.

Of course, these concepts are very much at the root of many varieties of alternative medicine as well.

Even more dangerous consequences

Part and parcel of the concept of “toxins” or “contamination” associated with COVID-19 vaccination is an antivaccine lie that I’ve been discussing for a long time, namely the idea that the “vaccinated” are so contaminated that they are a danger to others. In the past, it was the idea that those who had received attenuated live virus vaccines (like MMR) were shedding virus and giving measles to others. (The measles strain used in the MMR is much less dangerous than actual measles.) In the age of COVID-19, it’s the idea that, as Adams put it above, those who have received mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines are “spike protein factories” for whom the spike protein is a deadly toxin and is also shed from the vaccinated in an almost magical miasma-like manner to make others around them sick. Never mind that the amount of spike protein made due to these vaccines is tiny and mostly localized to the injection site, and the amount of spike protein getting into the bloodstream is so tiny that a new assay had to be developed to detect it.

This has led to a number of absurd beliefs about the “contamination” of the vaccinated among antivaxxers. One is kind of funny, namely the meme that went around that “unvaccinated” sperm is superior to the sperm of the vaccinated, to the point where antivaxxers think that their sperm will skyrocket in value after the pandemic.

It’s easy to laugh at that idea, but less funny is the claim that vaccines will so contaminate our DNA that they will lead to mass death from cancer in the next few years. (Never mind that carcinogens, even potent ones, generally don’t result in cancer anywhere near that fast.) Even less funny is what happened to a rather famous antivaxxer in June, who basically could have died because he refused a transfusion with “vaccinated blood”. I’m referring to Del Bigtree, who in May was diagnosed with so much chronic blood loss from hemorrhoids that his hemoglobin (Hgb) level had fallen to 4.8 g/dL, a level that’s not life-threatening in and of itself if the blood loss was slow, but could easily become so with further blood loss. (In a male, normal is around 13-17 g/dL, depending on the lab, and a level of 4.8 g/dL leaves no room for error, so to speak, when it comes to further blood loss, even if subsequent blood loss is slow.) Bigtree was symptomatic, with lightheadedness and dizziness. Still, he refused a transfusion at first because he didn’t want any “vaccinated blood” (although he didn’t refuse a procedure to stop the bleeding). According to his story, he managed to get a sympathetic ER doctor to find a unit of “unvaccinated” blood, which he did accept, and then he flew to Mexico on a private jet paid for by his fans to get a transfusion at a quack cancer clinic in Mexico.

This concept has led to social media posts like this:

Regarding that last one, he might be right, but not in the way he thinks.

Even so, let’s circle back:

Again, it really is all about the “purity.” That concept is at the root of a lot of alternative medicine, became a major thread in antivaccine pseudoscience. You can see how it so easily meshes with concepts of racial and genetic purity as well. Unfortunately, those very concepts are far more religious and ideological than scientific, and they have real world consequences. We just didn’t notice them so much before when “toxins”, “detoxification”, and “purity” were seemingly just the province of New Age gurus and alternative medicine. Now that it’s contributing to the claim that “natural immunity” is the only worthwhile immunity, that vaccines are hopelessly full of toxins (including genetic toxins), and fear of vaccines in the middle of a pandemic, we can’t ignore it any more.

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Posted by David Gorski

Dr. Gorski's full information can be found here, along with information for patients. David H. Gorski, MD, PhD, FACS is a surgical oncologist at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute specializing in breast cancer surgery, where he also serves as the American College of Surgeons Committee on Cancer Liaison Physician as well as an Associate Professor of Surgery and member of the faculty of the Graduate Program in Cancer Biology at Wayne State University. If you are a potential patient and found this page through a Google search, please check out Dr. Gorski's biographical information, disclaimers regarding his writings, and notice to patients here.