Why I took up writing
I have been passionate about pharmacology for as long as I can think.
It came as quite a surprise to find all the knowledge I acquired throughout life didn't even suffice to make a case for why I would rather not take the risk of having a nucleotide-based drug injected when it was demanded of me in late 2021.
Doctors and mailmen alike - everyone around me knew better. They had all become experts over night. Every journalist screamed from the top of their lungs that those who refuse the modRNA drugs are unempathetic right-wing extremist COVID-deniers.
Subscribe now, sit back and enjoy the fruits of my work, free of charge! No hidden costs for your cardiovascular health either. :)
Me? A COVID-denier? Wasn't I the one who they listened to in January 2020 when I advised them to wear scarves over their mouths until we know how long the incubation time lasts and the one to convince them to close their shops and cancel their appointments, constantly imploring them to think of our elders long before the pandemic was called out?
I was bad… But a right-wing extremist? Me? If there was one thing I always took great pride in then it's my sense of justice and the convictions that come with it.
Being defamed as antivaxx I had soon lost everything. Friends who I've been very close with for decades either blocked me, ghosted me or in one case excluded me from his establishment inspite of my begging and pleading. My brothers silently unbrothered me. My best man advised my soon-to-be-ex wife to leave me and lied about it.
It was time to up my game. I would try to hunt for truth. Everyone around me seemed to have an agenda. For every false narrative there was an equally false counter-narrative. Jew hating dimwits and polemical virus deniers were undermining our every attempt to understand what is happening.
I hence decided primary data was the only option. I have basic coding skills after all and had also analyzed other types of data before.
VAERS: A love affair
I downloaded the public VAERS dataset and started learning how to take it apart. I really wanted to dig into it.
Fast forward roughly 2000 working hours spent on inefficiently and agitatedly acquiring all the skills needed.
I now have 400kB of uncommented code which - whenever there is a VAERS update - fully automatically produces an age and gender-stratified report upon proportional reporting differences for 15,000 MedDRA terms across around 100 report cohorts defined by vaccine product type, manufacturer, pathogen exposure status and dose series, which I can extend at any time to cover lot numbers, injection sites or other exotic parameters.
Every single one of those report cohorts gets its own age- and gender-adjusted "pseudo-placebo control” report group. You can learn more about what I call pseudo-placebo report cohorts and why I think they are necessary in the help section of pervaers.com.
I calculate tens of millions of confidence intervals every time the code is run. Everything is written from scratch. I don’t even have a private MedDRA license. Instead I scrape every term’s parent concepts from publicly available sources.
Alas I quickly had to realize that knowing my way around the data really well won't change a thing, so I decided to create a website in order to reach people.
I spent my last Euros on the domain pervaers.com along with some hosting, quickly read up on how css works and wrote a simple website. No libraries are loaded, not a single one (I did patch together some navbar sample code from w3schools though). Thanks to compression algorithms that I customized for this use case the entire data fits onto a floppy disk. The roughly 15,000 SVG charts are created client-side, lightning fast, you won't even notice.
So pervaers.com is now up and running and offers a free interface for safety signal search based on my continuously updated comprehensive analysis of the US subsample of the public VAERS dataset.
So how did it go?
Badly. I am not sure what I was thinking. I guess I had hoped some data or pharma geek who has more of a voice than I do would stumble over it, find something of interest and start his own research, but nay. The site barely generates any hits.
However I had noticed plenty of peculiarities during my time spent on building the system.
More love for VAERS
I can not stress this enough: VAERS is the most amazing public pharmacovigilance database in existence. It's public, it's huge, it's extremely detailed. You just have to be aware of how the data is collected and take that into consideration when you try to deduce meaning from it.
I am not a writer and have never published anything before opening this substack. I don’t think I am particularly good at it either, but I feel like it is my moral obligation to report on these things when the regulatory agencies who are assigned this task refuse to do their work.
Ideally I would like to see a community project which crowdsources the data parsing process, because I firmly believe cooperation is the key to success. I would have long started it if I was more experienced in webdesign. Pages that require los of user input need to have their security in check, especially when their very existence is a threat to the financial interests of the industry.
However, if you happen to find the thought of diving into pharmacovigilance data attractive and don’t know where to start I will gladly supply all the data, information and coding assistance I can to help you with it.