No one would accuse Yehuda Shoenfeld of being a quack. The Israeli clinician has spent more than three decades studying the human immune system and is at the pinnacle of his profession. You might say he is more foundation than fringe in his specialty; he wrote the textbooks. The Mosaic of Autoimmunity, Autoantibodies, Diagnostic Criteria in Autoimmune Diseases, Infection and Autoimmunity, Cancer and Autoimmunity – the list is 25 titles long and some of them are cornerstones of clinical practice. Hardly surprising that Shoenfeld has been called the "Godfather of Autoimmunology" – the study of the immune system turned on itself in a wide array of diseases from type 1 diabetes to ulcerative colitis and multiple sclerosis.
But something strange is happening in the world of immunology lately and a small evidence of it is that the Godfather of Autoimmunology is pointing to vaccines – specifically, some of their ingredients including the toxic metal aluminum – as a significant contributor to the growing global epidemic of autoimmune diseases. The bigger evidence is a huge body of research that's poured in in the past 15 years, and particularly in the past five years. Take for example, a recent article published in the journal Pharmacological Research in which Shoenfeld and colleagues issue unprecedented guidelines naming four categories of people who are most at risk for vaccine-induced autoimmunity.