The hashtag Pathology Conference has been trending on Twitter for a few days.
It refers to an event of the same name, by which measure skeptics and opponents of the Covid-19 vaccination feel confirmed.
But it is not only they who use the hashtag, but also scientists who do not find much in the comments of the two emeritus pathologists who led through the conference.
Much more vaccine deaths than previously known and contaminated vaccines – the two emeritus pathologists Arne Burghardt and Walter Lang as well as Werner Bergholz, a former professor of electrical engineering, reported on an event distributed via YouTube. The more than three-hour video of this so-called pathology conference provoked a series of reactions. Positive for those who are critical of the Covid-19 vaccination. Negative for people who are familiar with the subject.
The German Society for Pathology, for example, distances itself “sharply” from the video in a statement, which is a “personal expression of opinion”. The data presented therein are “not scientifically founded”. The Austrian researcher and science communicator Sylvia Kerschbaum-Gruber even lets herself be carried away in her Instagram story to the statement “I have seldom seen a more irresponsible bullshit”. And YouTube removed the video after a short time, “because it violated the community guidelines”. This is how the platform works, for example, when medical falsehoods are spread in a video.
But why do the initiators of the streamed event experience so much headwind at all?
Much of the conference goes differently than it usually does. The venue itself is a mystery. The conference is said to have taken place in the pathological institute in Reutlingen. But there is no institution with this name there. In the city of Baden-Württemberg there is an institute for pathology at the Reutlingen Clinic, but the event did not take place there.
The type of procedure irritates experts
Usually researchers publish their studies in journals in order to bring their findings to the people. To do this, they first work out a manuscript that they submit to the specialist journal. If this accepts the draft, the peer review takes place. That means: usually anonymous and independent colleagues review the work, criticize and make comments. This is used for quality assurance. Then the work is sent back to the authors who will revise it. This process can be repeated a few times. Finally, the work is published in the journal.
For highly explosive findings that are of exceptional clinical importance and urgency, there is also the option of so-called fast-track publication or that of publishing the publication as a preliminary study on a pre-print server. The researchers at the University of Greifswald, for example, took this route after they had found evidence of a mechanism that they suspected to be behind the rare but severe cases of sinus thrombosis in the brain of younger people who had been vaccinated.
But the speakers at the pathology conference did not do that either. From Kerschbaum-Gruber’s point of view, for good reason: “That would never have even gotten to the peer review – I’m sure the gentlemen know that too. Hence the YouTube video. ” This is how Konrad Steinestel, a pathologist at the Bundeswehr Hospital Ulm, sees it: “No specialist journal would have allowed this interpretation on the basis of this data,” he writes on Twitter. Almost all of the statements made by the emeritus pathologists are untenable. What he thinks, Steinestel explains on Twitter (see thread):
Doubts about the seriousness of the study
In the YouTube video, the emeritus pathologists present the results of the autopsies of eight people who died after the Covid19 vaccination, as the announcement says. The lecture itself mentions ten investigations. These showed that the people “died causally from the vaccination”, according to Burkhardt. But: He does not provide clear evidence. In five cases, a causal relationship between the vaccination and the death of the person is «very likely», in two «probable». In one further case, according to the presentation, a connection is “unclear / possible”, “not yet evaluated” and “rather coincident”, which means something like “more of a co-factor”.
It also remains unclear who the autopsied dead were: “Burkhardt himself seemed to be able to only speculate about the more precise circumstances of death, previous illnesses and symptoms. The age of the dead was also not mentioned, except that they were all “older people over 50” ”, as“ Welt.de ”describes.
presentation of results
There is hardly any concrete information in Burkhardt’s lecture. Although he regularly refers to “other studies”, “papers” and “researchers”, he does not mention sources or names. Such an approach by researchers is not proof that they are wrong, as physicist Florian Aigner writes on Twitter. But it is strange. «It’s like saying: I discovered a unicorn in the forest! I’m not saying where or how, but you have to believe me! Nobody can refute that either, but it’s not particularly credible. “
In classic press conferences, findings are conveyed in a structured, transparent and often supported by visual representations. At the lecture by the pathologists in Reutlingen it was different: the information shown on a computer screen was often illegible, criticize the “Welt.de” authors Pia Heinemann and Birgit Herden, among others. Listening was the main priority here, which made it difficult to follow up the information critically.
Even experts such as Benjamin Ondruschka, director of the Institute for Forensic Medicine at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, who was called in by “Welt.de” to assess the conference, had trouble following the alleged argumentation: “Until the end, I was not clear about what exactly they were actually speak to both of them. It was not disclosed where they got these samples or preparations from, whether they were slides that had been presented to them for a second assessment by other pathologists or forensic doctors, whether the cases were particularly difficult or whether the patients had symptoms during their lifetime. » All of this is important in order to be able to assess the observations.
The thing with the “undeclared components” in the vaccine
At the event in Reutlingen there was also talk of foreign bodies that are said to have been found in Covid-19 vaccine samples. Burkhardt speaks of “undeclared metal-containing components”, elements that are sometimes thread-like, sometimes needle-like and sometimes box-shaped. He cannot say what it is. There are “microchips”, “graphene”, “graphene oxide”, “minerals” and “metals” in the room. These are beautiful to look at, “but they are not beautiful when they are in the body.”
Pathologist Steinestel is completely unconcerned about this observation. “I think this is simply dirt and glass splinters on the microscope slides,” he tweeted. “There is probably even a textile fiber included.” Something that can basically occur in any laboratory, as Kerschbaum-Gruber confirms: “By the way, I also see the contamination in the microscope – whenever I have not cleaned the slide or microscope beforehand or if residues form in older staining solutions . “
Background of the participants
Not only because of the approach of the retired pathologists Burkhardt and Lang, doubts are appropriate as to whether the conference was really as neutral as it would be necessary for a scientific event. According to “Welt.de” information (fee-based content), the event was organized and advertised by the Hanau lawyer Holger Fischer, who in recent months has appeared on Telegram as an opponent of the measures and railed against the Covid-19 vaccinations .
The woman who takes a seat next to Burkhardt, Lang and the electrical engineer Bergholz in the course of the video is the Berlin lawyer Viviane Fischer, who, together with Reiner Fuellmich, the chancellor candidate of the party Die Basis, «the ideological conspiracy committee ›», «Who has been spreading false information in long meetings for months», as «Tagesspiegel.de» writes. Fischer spoke of the Covid-19 vaccination in the past as “the devil’s stuff”.
Burkhardt and Lang cannot be described as neutral either. Both belong to the Association of Physicians and Scientists for Health, Freedom and Democracy, whose members “during the corona crisis in [ihrer] Criticism of the excessive restrictions have come together ». The members also include Sucharit Bhakdi, who is popular with corona skeptics and who most recently attracted attention with anti-Semitic remarks.
Do you or does someone you know have problems with the corona time?
Subscribe to the knowledge channel notifications in the 20-minute app. You will be informed about groundbreaking findings and discoveries from research, explanations of current events and curious news from the wide world of science. You will also receive answers to everyday questions and tips for a better life.
This is how it works: Install the latest version of the 20-minute app. At the bottom right, tap on «Cockpit», then «Settings» and finally on «Push notifications». At the point «Topics» you tap on «Knowledge» – et voilà!