Fact Check

Diabetes Vaccine Announced?

An organization claiming to have invented a vaccine against diabetes that also reverses the effects of the disease was swiftly shut down by the Mexican government for making fraudulent health claims.

Published Sept. 19, 2016

The discovery of a vaccine for the autoimmune disease diabetes has been announced.

On 18 September 2016, the English-language clickbait web site called Time for You shared an article reporting that "The vaccine against diabetes promises to be the solution for the advance of the illness and even reverses its effects."

The story cited work of two supposed Mexican scientists, Salvador Chacón Ramírez, president of the “Live Your Diabetes Foundation,” and Lucila Zárate Ortega, of the "Mexican Association for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Autoimmune Diseases," along with Doctor Jorge González Ramírez, using a therapy called "auto-chemotherapy." According to the Time for You article (which appeared to rely on a bad auto-translation), the procedure for immunizing against diabetes works as follows:

About 5 cm of blood were extracted from each patient and then they were injected with 55 milliliters of blood solution. It is refrigerated at five degrees centigrade. When the temperature changes to 37 grades, since it goes out of the body to a new temperature, a shock happens takes place and what was a problem turns into the solution inside the bottle, in such a way that the genetic and metabolic flaw is corrected or inmunometabolised in the vaccine.

The vaccine lasts for 60 days and the treatment is about one year. This vaccine is much more than a medicine; it is a medical practice that has turned into an alternative, a possible solution to stop the complications that are chronically degenerative: embolism, loss of ear; amputation, renal insufficiency and blindness, etc.

The article referred to events in Mexico that transpired in November 2015. According to the Spanish-language daily newspaper, La Jornada, the organization Live Your Diabetes held a press conference announcing their alleged discovery on 25 November 2015, but they were shut down by the Mexican government within 24 hours for hawking a bogus therapy. The English language version of the La Jornada article misrendered the treatment "Autohemotherapy" as "auto-chemotherapy":

Staff of the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risk (COFEPRIS) closed the offices of the Live Your Diabetes Foundation, which announced a vaccine against the disease.

The Ministry of Health (SSA) denied that there is any drug approved to prevent this disease and issued a warning about the "fraud on the public and the health authorities of the 32 states."

SSA said in a statement that it has not authorized any vaccine against diabetes and that the foundation has not submitted the clinical protocol to evaluate the quality and safety of the supposed therapy called "auto-hemotherapy." Without health registration or advertising permission , its facilities were closed "to prevent health risks."

We couldn't find any evidence that autohemotherapy, the practice of injecting patients with their own blood cells, is currently being used by the legitimate medical community for treatment any medical ailments. A 9 December 2014 article in the peer-reviewed journal Cureus notesdthat while autohemotherapy was used in the past for the skin conditions urticaria and eczema, evidence of its efficacy for that purpose wasn't reliable:

The injection of autologous whole blood or serum, known as autohemotherapy, was a standard dermatologic treatment in the early 1900s. Conventional dermatologists eventually abandoned autohemotherapy due to a lack of supporting evidence, even though there had been no formal attempts to assess its effectiveness. Recently, several investigators have evaluated autohemotherapy as a treatment for urticaria and eczema. I conducted a systematic review of the literature on autohemotherapy, focusing on treatment outcomes. The available evidence indicates that autohemotherapy does not have major side effects, and that minor adverse effects are short-lived and similar in frequency to those from placebo injections. Overall, autohemotherapy tends to be somewhat more effective in reducing symptoms than control therapy across studies, although the advantage is not statistically reliable. Urticaria patients who test positive on the autologous serum skin test display a moderately better response to autohemotherapy than patients who test negative. Based on the limited evidence available, autologous whole blood and autologous serum injections appear to have similar effectiveness. Furthermore, the severity of symptoms prior to treatment is not consistently related to patients' apparent response to autohemotherapy.

Currently there is no known cure for diabetes, an autoimmune disorder that produces high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period. There are two forms of the disease, the first of which (Type 1) typically onsets during childhood and results from the body's immune system attacking insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Insulin is key to glucose metabolism, and the absence of insulin in the blood stream results in a build-up in the body which over time becomes life-threatening. This deficiency is primarily controlled through insulin injections.

Type 2 diabetes is often referred to as "adult onset" and, depending on the severity, can in some cases be controlled with diet and lifestyle changes. It results from cells becoming resistant to the effects of insulin and is often linked to obesity.


Time for You.   "The Vaccine Against Diabetes Has Been Officially Announced and the Entire World Is Celebrating the News!"     18 September 2016.

Editors.   "Clausura Cofepris oficinas de fundación que anunciaba vacuna antidiabetes."   La Jornada.   26 November 2015.

Brewer, Devon D.   "A Systematic Review of Autohemotherapy as a Treatment for Urticaria and Eczema."   Cureus.   9 December 2014.

Mayo Clinic Staff.   "Diseases and Conditions: Diabetes."   Mayo Clinic.   31 July 2014.

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who has been working in the news industry since 2006.