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Autoimmun Rev. 2018 May;17(5):435-439. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2017.11.033. Epub 2018 Mar 8.

Perspective: Scientific and ethical concerns pertaining to animal models of autoimmune/autoinflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants (ASIA).

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Department of Virology and Immunology, Auckland Hospital, Park Rd, Grafton 1010, Auckland, New Zealand. Electronic address:
Sandford Jackson Building, Suite 94, L5 30/30 Chasely St, Auchenflower, QLD 4065, Australia.
Victorian Cytology Service, Carlton, Australia; Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia.


The autoimmune/autoinflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants (ASIA) was first described in 2011. The aluminium containing adjuvants of vaccines were stated to be one of the main causes of the condition. Other disorders associated with ASIA include siliconosis, Gulf war syndrome, sick building syndrome and the macrophagic myositis syndrome. We have recently reviewed ASIA as defined by its authors. We have shown that the definition of ASIA is imprecise and includes all patients with an autoimmune disorder as well as potentially the entire population. Application of the Bradford Hill criteria for causality does not support ASIA as an outcome of exposure to aluminium containing adjuvants in vaccines. The advocates of ASIA highlight animal models as evidence for the existence of the disorder. However, as this review will demonstrate, animal models purporting to support the existence of ASIA have methodological, analytical and ethical flaws which, in our view, refute the existence of the condition. Three publications by the advocates of ASIA were recently retracted from peer-reviewed journals. We call for an immediate moratorium on animal experiments of ASIA until an independent inquiry has been conducted to determine the existence of a clinically relevant syndrome, identifiable as ASIA in humans.

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