Dr Aseem Malhotra, a well-known cardiologist and sometimes controversial British public health campaigner, once advocated the COVID-19 vaccine. However, in a recent video, Malhotra appears to have reversed his position on the basis of recent studies.
Dr Assem Malhotra is well known in the United Kingdom as a “highly-regarded” public health campaigner. The anti-obesity activist graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2001 before holding a number of cardiology-related posts within the National Health Service and serving as a Consultant Clinical Associate at the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and a visiting professor at Bahiana School of Medicine and Public Health in Brazil.
In 2016, Malhotra was ranked as one of Britain’s 500 most influential people by The Sunday Times.
According to Cheryl K. Chumley, a commentator for the conservative Washington Times, Dr Malhotra has not always been critical of the COVID-19 vaccine. In fact, he was “initially on board with the COVID-19 vaccination program and widespread use of the novel mRNA shots”.
However, in a recent video, Dr Malhotra claims to have changed his views. His basis for doing so are two studies he conducted and published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Insulin Resistance.
The first study constitutes a “narrative review of the evidence from randomised trials and real-world data of the COVID mRNA products with special emphasis on BionTech/Pfizer vaccine”. It reviewed data from a range of studies before concluding, “it seems difficult to argue that the vaccine roll-out has been net beneficial in all age groups”.
“While a case can be made that the vaccines may have saved some lives in the elderly or otherwise vulnerable groups, that case seems tenuous at best in other sections of the population, and when the possible short-, medium- and unknown longer-term harms are considered (especially for multiple injections, robust safety data for which simply does not exist), the roll-out into the entire population seems, at best, a reckless gamble. It’s important to acknowledge that the risks of adverse events from the vaccine remain constant, whereas the benefits reduce over time, as new variants are (1) less virulent and (2) not targeted by an outdated product.”
A second study constituted a “narrative review of both current and historical driving factors that underpin the pandemic of medical misinformation” in an effort to “identify the major root causes of [COVID-19] public health failures”.
“Authorities and sections of the medical profession have supported unethical, coercive, and misinformed policies such as vaccine mandates and vaccine passports, undermining the principles of ethical evidence-based medical practice and informed consent.
These regrettable actions are a symptom of the ‘medical information mess’: The tip of a mortality iceberg where prescribed medications are estimated to be the third most common cause of death globally after heart disease and cancer.”
The paper’s conclusion included a dramatic call for the vaccine rollout to be stopped.
“There is a strong scientific, ethical and moral case to be made that the current COVID vaccine administration must stop until all the raw data has been subjected to fully independent scrutiny.
Looking to the future, the medical and public health professions must recognise these failings and eschew the tainted dollar of the medical-industrial complex. It will take a lot of time and effort to rebuild trust in these institutions, but the health — of both humanity and the medical profession — depends on it.”
Criticisms of Dr Malhotra’s Work
Some of Dr Aseem Malhotra’s past publications and comments have not gone without controversy, nor have his most recent studies.
In 2020, surgical oncologist Dr David Gorski criticised a European Scientific article by Dr Malhotra in which the cardiologist argued that obesity was the “real killer” behind the COVID pandemic and urged people to “eat real food, protect the NHS and save lives”. While Dr Gorski conceded that Dr Malhotra had a point, he characterised his argument as “judgemental” and “overblown”.
“Certainly, a healthy weight, exercising, eating a healthy diet are all good things for your health. Who knows? They might even lower your risk of severe COVID-19. However, don’t be fooled by overblown claims for what they’ll do for your risk of COVID-19, and don’t forget the judgmental implications behind advice like that promoted by Dr. Malhotra. He’ll deny it to high heaven, of course, and maybe he personally doesn’t intend to be judgmental, but judgment is there nonetheless.”
Additionally, in 2021, charity fact checker Full Fact published an article by Oxford arts graduate and journalist Abbas Panwani. In it, Panwani criticised Dr Malhotra’s quotation of research published in the peer-reviewed Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology journal by former cardiac surgeon Dr Steven R. Gundry. Panwani claimed that “[s]erious concerns [had] been raised as to the quality of the research”, including by the research publisher.
In a Science-Based Medicine blog post, Dr Gorski has also criticised numerous aspects of Dr Malhotra’s recent two studies, which he claims were published in a “faux journal”. To support his claims, he referenced a range of social media posts by health fact-checkers and medical experts that criticised aspects of Dr Malhotra’s research. Dr Gorski conceded that Dr Malhotra indeed appeared to have undergone a genuine change of perspective on the mRNA vaccine; however, he put this down to the impact of the loss of Dr Malhotra’s father (which Dr Malhotra attributes to the mRNA vaccine) coupled with his previous inclination to emphasise metabolic health over traditional health methods. He accused Dr Malhotra of parroting anti-vax disinformation in his papers.
Health Feedback, a member of the WHO-led project Vaccine Safety Net (VSN), also published a fact check of Dr Malhotra’s papers, claiming that his main claims were ultimately “unsupported”. It is unclear which health experts were involved in reviewing the papers’ claims; however, the fact check was edited by Iria Carballo-Carbajal, a neuroscientist and the science editor for Health Feedback. Health Feedback‘s parent organisation, Science Feedback, is a signatory of the International Fact Checking Network and partners with Facebook and TikTok’s fact-checking initiatives. The group has also received financial support from the Google News Initiative.
Finally, Dr Malhotra’s two new studies have been reviewed by YouTuber Dr Susan Oliver, who holds a PhD in Nanomedicine. Like Dr Gorski, Dr Oliver also highlighted the reputability of the Journal of Insulin Resistance and the reliability of studies Dr Malhotra cited as reasons to dismiss the new research.
Nevertheless, to my knowledge, no peer-reviewed responses have been made to Dr Malhotra’s claims in his most recent research.
Despite the lack of mainstream media coverage, Dr Malhotra’s two papers have garnered significant interest. At the time of writing, the full papers had been viewed 213,191 and 64,457 times respectively, with the abstracts receiving 179,995 and 62,678 hits respectively.
Academic research cited:
Malhotra, Aseem, ‘Curing the pandemic of misinformation on COVID-19 mRNA vaccines through real evidence-based medicine – Part 1’, Journal of Insulin Resistance, vol. 5, no. 1, https://doi.org/10.4102/jir.v5i1.71, accessed 11 October 2022.
Malhotra, Aseem, ‘Curing the pandemic of misinformation on COVID-19 mRNA vaccines through real evidence-based medicine – Part 2’, Journal of Insulin Resistance, vol. 5, no. 1, https://doi.org/10.4102/jir.v5i1.72, accessed 11 October 2022.
Gundry, Steven R. ‘Abstract 10712: Observational Findings of PULS Cardiac Test Findings for Inflammatory Markers in Patients Receiving mRNA Vaccines’, Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, https://doi.org/10.1161/circ.144.suppl_1.10712, accessed 11 October 2022.
Update (27/10/2022): Since this article’s publication, several criticisms of Dr Malhotra’s recent research by health fact-checkers and a YouTuber have been helpfully brought to my attention. These criticisms have been made by bodies and individuals who can be considered “experts” in scientific fields. Hence, in the interests of clarity, the article has been updated to specify that no “peer-reviewed responses” have yet been made to Dr Malhotra’s claims instead of stating, as it previously did, that “to my knowledge, at the time of writing, no expert criticisms have been made”. Moreover, the other critiques have been summarised in the article.
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