Well, it's not the Tuskegee experiment, anyway. A deceased Southern Illinois University School of Medicine researcher is posthumously under fire for his herpes vaccine research which evidently violated both internal and government rules for research, this according to an SIU internal investigation.
The investigation was led by SIU's institutional review board which “has determined that serious noncompliance with regulatory requirements and institutional policies and procedures occurred,” according to SIU School of Medicine dean and provost Dr. Jerry Kruse in an Oct. 6 written response to a federal inquiry about William Halford’s genital herpes vaccine research. The vaccine research was funded in part by Peter Thiel.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">"Questionable herpes vaccine research backed by tech heavyweight Peter Thiel may have jeopardized $15 million in federal research funding to Southern Illinois University School of Medicine." <a href="https://t.co/P6dOC4qFyF">https://t.co/P6dOC4qFyF</a></p>— Ars Technica (@arstechnica) <a href="https://twitter.com/arstechnica/status/930847972358836224?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 15, 2017</a></blockquote>
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Currently, the details of alleged noncompliance are unavailable, but SIU has submitted a full report on its investigation to the federal government. According to ot SIU spokeswoman Karen Carlson, no details are currently available at the moment as SIU is still undergoing their investigation.
The story was initially broken by the State Journal-Register and Kaiser Health News which led to an inquiry from the Office of Human Research Protections (a subsidiary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). HHS is investigating any potential issues related to Halford's company, Rational Vaccines.
Currently, the school is entitled to $15 million in federal research funding, but if it's found that the SIU violated federal rules, that funding could pop quicker than a scratched outbreak pustule. State Journal-Register obtained a copy of the letter to the HHS with redactions by appealing to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.
Rational Vaccines' chief executive officer, Agustin Fernandez III, is not responding to requests for comment via phone or email currently. Previously, he had gone on the record as saying that no one had been harmed during the clinical trial, which was held between March and August of 2016. Simply the fact that a clinical trial of a therapeutic vaccine took place without oversight or institutional review at SIU or elsewhere is controversial at best.