Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

September 15, 2020

Navajos already used in controversial coronavirus plasma transfusions, next vaccine experiments, the Navajo Nation confirms

Navajos already used in controversial coronavirus plasma transfusions, next vaccine experiments, the Navajo Nation confirms

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News exclusive
Copyright Censored News
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. -- Navajos are already being used in controversial coronavirus plasma infusions by Johns Hopkins University researchers who are being funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.

The controversial coronavirus plasma infusions, which are not FDA approved, are already underway using Navajos at the Indian Health Service hospitals in Shiprock, N.M. on the Navajo Nation, and at the Gallup, N.M., IHS hospital, the Navajo Nation confirmed.

Jill Jim, executive director of the Navajo Department of Health, responded to Censored News questions late Tuesday.

"Johns Hopkins received funding for these experimental infusions. Johns Hopkins University has received funding from the Department of Defense and the Bloomberg Foundation to conduct this clinical trial, which is being overseen by the FDA," the Navajo Departement of Health told Censored News Tuesday about the coronavirus plasma infusions.

The Navajo coronavirus plasma infusions escaped widespread public scrutiny until the Navajo government encouraged Navajos to volunteer for a second controversial coronavirus medical research project, coronavirus vaccine experiments, on Friday.

Both are being carried out by Johns Hopkins University, not the Indian Health Service. IHS is a partner in the medical experiments, the Navajo Department of Health told Censored News.

However, IHS did not respond to the question from Censored News, as to whether it is a partner in the coronavirus medical experiments on Navajos.

Johns Hopkins University is carrying out the experimental research on Navajos using IHS hospitals, with the approval of the Navajo Nation government and IHS.

Johns Hopkins University received funding from the U.S. Department of Defense in July for the coronavirus plasma infusions.

The exposures raise troubling questions about Navajos being used for coronavirus research that is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense and drug companies.

Navajo President Jonathan Nez said Friday that the vaccine experiment -- the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 study -- will be administered by the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health in Chinle, Arizona, and in Shiprock, New Mexico, on the Navajo Nation and in Gallup, New Mexico.

The drug corporation Pfizer is based in New York. The biotech corporation BioNTech is based in Germany.

The high risks associated with experimental medical research is not always explained to participants. The most vulnerable are often targeted, especially when medical research can be carried out largely in secret. The question is always whether the participants are agreeing with fully informed consent.

Johns Hopkins University was responsible for infecting Indigenous Peoples in Guatemala with sexually-transmitted diseases during its secret medical research in the 1940s. It took decades for the truth to be exposed and this abuse is now before the U.S. courts.

Coronavirus plasma transfusions are not approved by FDA

Johns Hopkins announced in July that it received $35 million to carry out experimental plasma infusions on Navajos.

The plasma is from those who have had coronavirus who have recovered. The plasma from those already infected is infused into people with mild cases of coronavirus, or those who have been exposed. This was not widely publicized in Indian country media. Read article.

The FDA has not approved the use of coronavirus plasma infusions. The FDA is allowing it since there is no proven treatment available. It remains in the experimental phase.

The Navajo Department of Health told Censored News, "Convalescent plasma is a promising therapy that is approved for the treatment of hospitalized patients with COVID-19."

The plasma infusions are being used on Navajos who have the virus, and those who have been exposed.

The Navajo Department of Health said, "The aim of these studies is to determine if convalescent plasma works to prevent people with mild COVID-19 disease from progressing to more severe disease and to prevent people from getting the illness at all after they have had close contact with someone who is sick with COVID-19."

The coronavirus plasma infusion study was approved by the Navajo Nation Human Research Board. Reports about the study were given at the Northern Agency Council meeting and the Eastern Agency Council meeting, the Navajo Department of Health told Censored News.

The coronavirus vaccine experiments are next in Navajo Nation hospitals

The second medical study, controversial coronavirus vaccine experiments, was approved by the Navajo Nation.

Navajo President Jonathan Nez encouraged Navajos to volunteer for the vaccine experiments on Friday.

Navajos point out that Johns Hopkins University researchers are collecting blood and DNA samples of Navajos in IHS hospitals on the Navajo Nation. It is unknown how these will be used.

The Havasupai had to go to court stop ASU researchers from misusing their genetic material.

Currently, Johns Hopkins is in Navajo IHS hospitals preparing to carry out controversial coronavirus vaccine experiments.

Navajos say the vaccine study was approved by a tribal review board and tribal leaders without community input.

Further, Navajos  question if there will be fully informed consent. Navajos criticize the promise of money in exchange for being a vaccine experiment, due to the high risks, pointing out that this is in an economically disadvantaged community.

Medical experts point out that the risks in the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine include the side effects of fever and chills. There is also the danger that the vaccine could actually enhance disease. Read article.

The Navajo Department of Health described the approval process within the Navajo Nation government.

"The Navajo Nation Human Research Review Board has reviewed and approved this study. The study is being conducted by Johns Hopkins University, in partnership with IHS facilities," the Navajo Department of Health said.

However, when Censored News contacted IHS, IHS distanced itself from the study, telling Censored News to refer questions to the Navajo Nation and Johns Hopkins. When Censored News asked a second time if IHS is a partner in these medical experiments, IHS did not respond.

It is clear that the coronavirus medical experiments are being carried out in IHS hospitals on the Navajo Nation and at the IHS hospital in the border town of Gallup, N.M.

Censored News asked the Navajo Nation if it will benefit financially from the medical experiments.

The Navajo Department of Health said none of the partners for this study on the Navajo Nation have a financial interest in the vaccine. Participants in the study are compensated for their time.

Censored News asked if the Navajo Nation is liable if the vaccine results in sickness, disability, or death.

"The Navajo Nation is not liable. The participants sign a consent form, which explains that the study sponsor (BioNTech/Pfizer) will cover the costs of any treatment that is needed because of a research injury," the Navajo Department of Health told Censored News.

In the vaccine experiments, some Navajos will be given the vaccine. However, others will be given a placebo.

"This is a blinded placebo-controlled study. Participants will either receive the study vaccine or a saline placebo. No other medications will be administered," the Navajo Department of Health told Censored News.

"Participants go through an extensive informed consent process to ensure that they understand what the study involves, the risks and benefits, and that participation is voluntary," the Navajo Department of Health told Censored News.

Censored News asked if this vaccine has been tested on humans.

"Over 20,000 people have participated in the phase 2/3 study so far," the Navajo Department of Health said.

The responses to Censored News questions were from Jill Jim, executive director of the Navajo Department of Health. Jim said the responses were coordinated with Laura Hammitt, director of Infectious Disease Programs for the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health.

Drug company attempted profiteering from hantavirus on Navajo Nation

This is not the first time Navajos have been targeted by drug companies.

In 1993, an attempt was made to pressure the Navajo Nation Council to stockpile the drug Ribavirin during the hantavirus outbreak. Navajo Councilwoman Genevieve Jackson halted the stockpile attempt.

The unexplained origin and spread of the hantavirus, followed by the attempt at drug company profiteering, led to an outcry from Navajos who said they are tired of being used as guinea pigs in medical research.

It exposed the revolving door of Congressional lobbyists, politicians and drug companies.

The Indian Health Service has a long history of violating patients' rights and is responsible for sterilizing Native American women against their will during the 20th Century.

Johns Hopkins University has been conducting medical research using IHS hospitals on the Navajo Nation for decades, since at least the early 1980s when Johns Hopkins was present at the Fort Defiance, Arizona, IHS hospital on the Navajo Nation.

There has been little information made public about Johns Hopkins medical research on Navajos.

In its brief history that is public, Johns Hopkins said it began medical research on White Mountain Apache in 1980 and then included the Navajo Nation. The medical research has included vaccines, parental planning and other medical research and experiments.

Johns Hopkins is currently engaged in coronavirus contact tracing, and serology (antibody) collections on the Navajo Nation, according to its history.

Cherokee Nation targeted by drug company

Gilead Sciences -- a different drug company than the two targeting the Navajo Nation -- is targeting the Cherokee Nation to profiteer from the coronavirus. The two targeting the Navajo Nation with a vaccine are two working together:  Pfizer and the German biotech company BioNTech.

Censored News previous article:
Part I: Navajos to be used for coronavirus vaccine experiments. Navajo President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer statement is included. They encouraged Navajos to volunteer for the vaccine experiments.

Trump administration pushes for rushed vaccine

About the author: Brenda Norrell, the publisher of Censored News, began her career as a news reporter at Navajo Times, during the 18 years that she lived on the Navajo Nation. She was a stringer for AP and USA Today covering the Navajo Nation and federal courts. After serving as a longtime staff reporter for Indian Country Today in the Southwest, she was censored and terminated in 2006. She has been a journalist in Indian Country for 38 years and has a master's degree in international health. 

Article copyright Brenda Norrell, Censored News, may not be republished without permission. Please share our link.

1 comment:

J.D. Ruybal said...

The most vulnerable suffer as the privileged gather, party and pray at Super Spreader Events, unhindered and undaunted by science and mask, caring for none but one. “Themselves” As it is a Christian God given right! Manifest Destiny. 
Scientific experimentation on the innocent...
Scientific experimentation weighted with unknown consequences, compounded as safety protocol is speed and profit is intertwined as a goal one.
where are the covid non believers? After all it is no more than a common flu?
Where are the folks that profess herd immunity?
Where are the “anti mask” True Blue Americans" yearning to breathe free?
Where are the Proud Patriots?
Where are the True Blue Christians?
Odd none are stepping forward...
A scientific experimentation that allow the unconcerned to benefit from the trials, tribulations and death of others.
The unconcerned party as the subjects of testing suffer.
This is TRULY telling. After-all the U.S. and its corporations were and still are being built on and with slavery and genocide of multitudes of peoples and Lands.
Here the unconcerned they party as the subjects of testing suffer.