nuremberg, & history

There’s a lot been said recently about the Nuremberg code. So what is it, and why is it popping up now?

As described in this excellent NEJM article, the Code was developed over 80 years ago in August 1947, by judges involved in the “Doctors Trial” at Nuremberg. There were a total of 13 court trials at Nuremberg: the Doctors Trial was the second of these, coming after the main trial of the major German war criminals. It “involved 23 defendants, all but 3 of whom were physicians accused of murder and torture in the conduct of medical experiments on concentration-camp inmates.” Of the 23, 16 were found guilty and 7 executed. After the trial,

The judges at Nuremberg, although they realized the importance of Hippocratic ethics and the maxim primum non nocere, recognized that more was necessary to protect human research subjects. Accordingly, the judges articulated a sophisticated set of 10 research principles centered not on the physician but on the research subject. These principles, which we know as the Nuremberg Code, included a new, comprehensive, and absolute requirement of informed consent (principle 1), and a new right of the subject to withdraw from participation in an experiment (principle 9).

More recently, informed consent also forms the basis of the International Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical Research Involving Human Subjects and is a foundation of the Helsinki Declaration of 1964, with its focus on the obligations of physicians and researchers to those participating in their research. And both the Code & the Declaration require peer review of proposed research protocols by a committee that includes a community representative, before any research project can begin.

The key word here is research. This means that the Code, & the Helsinki Declaration, are relevant to the randomised controlled trials that were designed to assess the various covid-19 vaccine candidates. The RCT protocol for the Pfizer vaccine is freely available and the same is true for other candidate vaccines. Phases I, II & III of the trials involved human volunteers, who gave informed consent, could withdraw from the study at any point, and were participants in the research experiments. As Orac has said,

From a scientific definition, these vaccines had been found to be safe and effective in large randomized clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people before the EUA had been issued.

He goes on to explain that

Because the vaccines at the time had been approved by the FDA for use under an “emergency use authorization” (EUA), by law they had to be listed as “investigational.”

They stopped being experimental when the FDA granted full approval.

So, claims that the vaccine rollout is in breach of the Nuremberg Code are poorly informed and incorrect. (See also this article in The Conversation.)


Coda: Yes, I get it; those making the claim are also trying to imply the people in charge of the rollout are N-zis. So let’s look at that one too.

Thus those who claim that health workers, politicians, public servants, & all the others working to stem the flow of Delta around the motu should be subjected to “Nuremberg 2”, could benefit from a history lesson. Because people making those claims also oppose vaccination, are increasingly describing themselves as “purebloods¹,” and describe some of our duly-elected leaders as N-zis, they could also take a good look in the mirror and consider the company they keep. Why? Because the 3rd Reich’s leaders promoted “racial purity” and “blood purity” (see also here), and – rather than promoting vaccinations, relaxed existing requirements in that area and forbade the use of vaccines for those deemed undesirable. Public health measures are the polar opposite of the atrocities carried out by that regime.

¹ oh, and if they’re channeling Harry Potter, they’re on the wrong side there too. Voldemort’s “death eater” adherents were very definitely not the good guys.

EDIT: this is discussed in much more detail by David Gorski over on Science-Based Medicine.

18 thoughts on “nuremberg, & history”

      • As I said, that information is freely available on-line. This just suggests that either you’re trying (& failing) to be insulting, or you haven’t bothered looking.

        Either way the original request seems irrelevant to the blog post.

        • Peter Donovan says:

          I am sure that you are aware of the research of Sucharit Bhakdi and Arne Burkhardt, concerning histopathic evidence of damage caused by T lymphocytes , within various organs of deceased people that had received the ‘experimental’ I say again, experimental mRNA, contrary to your attempts at sidestepping this by using ‘FDA approval’. Or do you refute this evidence given by Bhakdi, who is by far superior in credentials for medical biology than yourself.

          • This Bhakdi?
            The fact both his university (& he’s retired) & his publisher reject his views suggests he’s not the best person to take advice from.

            You can say “experimental” till you’re blue in the face; that doesnt change the fact that phase III trials in adults ended late in 2020, thus ending the experimental part in scientific terms. Full approval (& not just by the FDA) did the same in the legalistic sense.

        • Peter Donovan says:

          The fact that you had no knowledge of Bhakdi who has been one of the most eminent medical microbiologists of the last century, says a lot about the supposed knowledge that you like to assume. Yes they are still in experimental stage, if not then I challenge you here to show the results of the studies on long term safety for the jabs, you of course will not be able to, yet you say that they are not experimental, and of informed consent, this does not happen, as no administer of these jabs can give any informed consent, as there is no long term safety data, and you well know this. You support the concensus as it is your job, while doing your job you neglect your duty as a human being.

          • Oh, i knew about Bhakdi; the link was for anyone reading the thread to follow. He is hardly a credible source on this topic.

            Please point to any vaccine on the current schedule where there is evidence of long-term harm that’s cropped up after approval. We’ll wait.

  • The CDC was asked through Freedom of Information Act requests if the CDC knew if they had any SARS-CoV-2 isolated virus or purified samples of the virus. The CDC’s response was that they did not know of any SARS-CoV-2 virus purified material anywhere in the world. This might have been true early in the pandemic. It’s certainly not the case now, & hasn’t been for quite some time:

    Hi Alison, how are you? I had a question on a topic that has the comments section closed. Hope you dont mind me asking in this comments section? The FOI requests are still coming back the same as above and now the CDC admits NO ‘Gold standard’ for the isolation of Any Virus! I can send the link if you would like to read it.

    And if the covid virus entered a cell, made a 1000 copies and burst out of that cell, then 1000 copies made a million copies and so on. within a few replications would all the cells be annihilated and would all these covid cases be deaths?

  • Can you please point to the link of the FDA approval? On the FDA website, there is information about the approval for EUA but I can’t find the full approval. I know it was announced but that’s not what the current FDA website appears to say.

  • One of the key claims about the life-cycle of the virus is that the viruses hijack cell replication, after gaining entry into the cell.

    This is a rather amazing claim for dead/inactive viruses. You would think the initial “discovery” would have been a wonderfully repeatable experiment.

    Yet it only appears to be Virus Doctrine by Osmosis.

    Where and when was this amazing ability of viruses conclusively demonstrated?


  • Geoffrey Lyford says:

    It would seem that to find a virus, it would need to be first cultured. In this fact Alison and Sam agree.
    The second part is how to prove the virus is a pathogen? Are the experiments resembling the way viruses work in the world?
    The other important point to consider is that most of virolgy has to do with sequencing small snippets of genetic material of unknown origin and then filling in the blanks with a computer. This is called working directly with the virus.
    Then the vaccines are developed as the only preferred way to solve the pandemic while labelling anyone who questions this as misinformation incarnate.
    That is a problem we must address. Science is about searching for a better understanding and not being defensive about one’s chosen field of endeavor by not seeing what is a criticism.
    I would like to know why the human being would not be the ideal culture medium for the virus? Why must it be cultured before it appears. That is a good question, in my view and a good starting point where both arguments begin and can agree on as the point of departure. Yours Sincerely

    • most of virolgy has to do with sequencing small snippets of genetic material of unknown origin and then filling in the blanks with a computer.
      There is considerably more to virology (& genome sequencing) than your statement is trying to imply.

      I would like to know why the human being would not be the ideal culture medium for the virus?
      Its an excellent “culture medium”; that’s why SARS-COV-2 replicates so well in humans, in the process sickening & killing quite a lot of them. Which is why your apparent suggestion of experimenting *on people* with this virus is unethical in the extreme.

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