Reviewer jsarac | Review

#331 Health transition and paradigm shift in Brazil: The immunosuppression versus immunostimulation debate on the internet

Coresponding author's contact details

First name Márcio Middle name Last name Vilar
Title Dr phil Organization / Institution Goethe University Frankfurt Department n/a
Address Kantstraße 15 Postal / Zip code 04275 Country DE
E-Mail Hidden Phone number Hidden Presenting author Yes

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Abstract title

Health transition and paradigm shift in Brazil: The immunosuppression versus immunostimulation debate on the internet

Abstract text

Strengthening one’s immune system belong to the current recommendations made by specialists to prevent multiple illnesses, and several products and habits have been encouraged to keep one’s body healthy. Nevertheless, when it comes to treat people with autoimmune diseases, such as diabetes, lupus, arthritis etc., which are part of the non-communicable diseases (NCDs), there is great medical scepticism regarding immunostimulation. Once immunosuppression is the backbone of established paradigm in fields like rheumatology, immunostimulation-based therapies tend to be marginalized when they are proposed to become authorized. Yet, immunostimulation lies at the heart of regenerative medicine. Given that, is it possible for immunostimulation, not only as preventive policy but also as a legitimate way to tackle autoimmunity, to emerge as a significant factor for health transition? To reflect on it, I present and analyse an online discussion forum initiated in 2008, in Brazil, to deliberate on the efficacy of an immunostimulating drug for autoimmunity whose manufacturing, commercialization and distribution was forbidden in 2005. In it, strangers from distinct localities discussed about the ‘vaccine’ (the drug in question). Participants promoted or warned against it, reported on theirs and other’s personal experiences with it, detailing its application and sharing contacts of related physicians and relevant internet links (e.g. a petition for its regularization), etc. Particularly, informed by fieldwork activities conducted in intercalated periods since 2009, I analyse whether forum participants, by enacting a biopolitics from below, managed to (re)create and/or expand informal adoption spaces for immunostimulation as potential medical future.

Conference topic

Panel no. 77 - Health Transition in Modern Societies

Preferred format


Abstract Review

This abstract was reviewed on 2021-01-04 20:23h by jsarac

Reviewer decision