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GSK's flu vaccine has "the fingerprints of an immune attack"

According to a recent report, some patients who received a flu vaccine manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline had an increased risk of developing narcolepsy. In a Digital Journal article dated December 21, the author noted that Lawrence Steinman of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, commented on the report's research telling Science Now that the vaccine has "the fingerprints of an immune attack".

More research links GSK's swine flu vaccine Pandemrix to the sleep disorder narcolepsy
More research links GSK's swine flu vaccine Pandemrix to the sleep disorder narcolepsyPhoto by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Pandemrix is a flu vaccine for influenza pandemics, such as the H1N1 2009 flu pandemic ('swine flu'). Developed by GlaxoSmithKline and patented in September 2006, health reports in 2010 linked the vaccine to narcolepsy in some patients. Studies have shown that the vaccine increased the risk of the sleep disorder tenfold (as indicated by the British Medical Journal).

In a paper titled "CD4+ T Cell Autoimmunity to Hypocretin/Orexin and Cross-Reactivity to a 2009 H1N1 Influenza A Epitope in Narcolepsy," the new research into the flu vaccine has been published in the journal Science Translational Medicine. Researchers conclude that more work is still required in understanding exactly how the vaccine triggers narcolepsy. However, the evidence strongly indicates that the vaccine was the cause.

In 2011, Neurologist Markku Partinen, director of the Helsinki Sleep Clinic and Research Centre, discovered that Pandemrix may be linked to an increase in cases of narcolepsy, a rare sleep disorder, in children and young people. See: