Andrew Wakefield exposed as a fraud, the autism-vaccine belief is based on falsified data

The man responsible for one of the most significant public health threats of our time has been exposed as a fraud.

Andrew Wakefield, the discredited British scientist whose study “linked” vaccines and autism, has been accused of falsifying data.

According to investigative reporter Brian Deer, “confidential medical documents and interviews with witnesses have established that Andrew Wakefield manipulated patients’ data, which triggered fears that the MMR triple vaccine to protect against measles, mumps and rubella was linked to the condition.”

If true, the entire belief system of the anti-vaccination movement is based on a lie. But, as Orac at Respectful Insolence notes, the horse has already left the barn.

“None of this will matter to antivaccinationists,” he writes, “who view Wakefield as . . . a persecuted scientific hero . . . I’m sure that [anti-vaccine proponents] will wax ridiculous about what a great doctor and man Wakefield is and how it’s big pharma and its minions who, frightened by the implications of Wakefield’s work, are working hard to demonize him and suppress his ‘science.'”

I suggest you read Orac’s complete analysis on the issue, which is, as always, spot-on.