Two of the slides used by German chemistry professors Gerald Dyker and Jörg Matysik in their now famous interview on the variable toxicity of different batches of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have been seen around the world: (1) the graph from the Danish study, showing enormous differences in toxicity between ‘blue’, ‘green’ and ‘yellow’ batches; and (2) their own table displaying an almost solid column of ‘neins’, indicating that the responsible regulator, Germany’s Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI), did not subject the apparently harmless ‘yellow’ batches to quality control testing.
It was the latter discovery – and not the hotly debated Danish study per se – that led Prof. Dyker to conclude that the yellow batches might be “something like placebos”, after all. But the third slide from the interview also deserves to be better known, since it refocuses attention on a crucial aspect of this story which has been almost completely obscured amidst the sound and fury of the attempted ‘debunkings’ of the placebo hypothesis: namely, the relationship between the regulator, the Paul Ehrlich Institute, and the manufacturer, Germany’s BioNTech.
To state the obvious – and this is really all that Prof. Dyker was doing in his supposedly controversial remarks in the interview – the observation that the regulator did not test precisely the apparently harmless batches suggests impropriety, as if it knew in advance that the batches were innocuous and hence did not need quality control. It suggests that the PEI colluded with the manufacturer to place an adulterated product – perhaps indeed, in this case, a pseudo-product – on the market.
It needs to be stressed that the manufacturer here is precisely the German firm BioNTech. BioNTech, not its more well-known American partner Pfizer, is legally the manufacturer of the so-called Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Pfizer is a contractor which undertakes (some) manufacturing activities on BioNTech’s behalf. This is invariably indicated on the very label of the vaccine. (See below, for instance, and for more examples and a discussion here.)
It is important to note that in the EU, BioNTech also directly contributes to the supply chain by manufacturing the active drug substance, i.e., the mRNA, in its own facilities.
Furthermore, BioNTech, not Pfizer, is the marketing authorisation holder for the vaccine in the EU, like in most other markets. Hence, it is the German firm BioNTech which was responsible for providing batch samples to the German regulator, the Paul Ehrlich Institute, as Dyker and Matysik’s interview likewise makes clear.
Let’s have a look now at the professors’ third slide below. It should be recalled that Dyker and Matysik are part of a group of five German-speaking scientists who have been raising questions about the quality and safety of the BioNTech vaccine with both the manufacturer and the PEI.
The slide consists simply of a tweet dated June 6th. The author of the tweet is none other than German Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach. The picture shows Lauterbach at the Paul Ehrlich Institute with PEI president Klaus Cichutek and some lab workers. Lauterbach is the man in the middle of the photo and Cichutek is to the right.