A former BBC reporter has said he became a ‘raving lunatic’ after taking the same yellow fever vaccine linked to the death of a leading Royal Marsden cancer expert.
Malcolm Brabant, who was a member of the BBC’s team of foreign correspondents, said that after have the jab in 2011 he believed he was the messiah, then as his psychosis got worse he was convinced he was the devil and he became suicidal.
The award-winning journalist who has reported from around the world including Greece and Bosnia, even told a colleague who uses a wheelchair that he could cure him.
One of the world’s leading oncologists, Martin Gore, 67, passed away on Thursday after suffering total organ failure shortly after having the same injection, which is recommended to anyone visiting Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Central America and the Caribbean.
Mr Brabant was given the same vaccine as he was planning to go to the Ivory Coast for an assignment.
But within hours the 63-year-old knew something was wrong and he suffered a high fever for 13 days.
His worried family were shocked as he ranted about the second coming of Jesus to neighbours and began switching his persona between Winston Churchill and the devil.
But because he did not realise his psychosis was deepening Mr Brabant continued to try and work and filed a radio piece, which was not aired, from Athens about a shooting star, speculating it might be a miracle.
With the BBC’s support, he was sent to hospital in Athens, where he stripped naked and ran around in the garden.
Shortly after being released he suffered a second mental breakdown, believing dead friends were passing him messages to brush his teeth with a toilet brush and to drink his own urine.
After being let out of a Danish hospital for Christmas in 2011 Mr Brabant heard voices telling him to ‘kill! kill! kill!’ when he was holding a knife about to carve the pork.
He handed the knife to his wife and asked her to take him back to hospital, without telling her why.
After escaping from a psychiatric hospital in his home town of Ipswich, Mr Brabant came across into the BBC’s security correspondent, Frank Gardner, who uses a wheelchair after being shot six times by militants in Saudi Arabia in 2004.
He told his colleague he could heal him and asked ‘can I put my hands on you?’ and wanted to rub his back.
During his roller-coaster journey to recovery, Mr Brabant filmed some of his strange behaviour, as did his fellow television reporter wife, Trine Villemann.
The footage was made into a film called Malcolm is a Little Unwell, which documented the symptoms he was suffering from and criticised the vaccine manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, for not updating the jab.
Serious side effects from the vaccine are very rare, but are more common in those over the age of 60, or in anyone with HIV/AIDS.
The company has denied any link between the yellow fever vaccine and Mr Brabant’s hallucinations.
Trine Villemann told the Sunday Times: ‘I thought I’m sure the vaccine maker would like to see this, to understand what is happening.
‘If you buy a bad burger all hell breaks loose. You have a vaccination that fries your brain and nothing.
‘We don’t want millions of people to die from yellow fever.
‘At the same time we don’t want other people to have to go through what Malcolm did.’
Mr Brabant, who now works for American broadcaster PBS, says he has been contacted by others who claim to have also suffered delusion and hallucinations after having the vaccination.
He told the Telegraph in 2015: ‘I was not a one-in-a-million case. We are determined to make the manufacturers, Sanofi Pasteur, investigate what is happening.
‘I have provided them with open access to all the doctors who treated me so they can hear what their vaccine did to me, but they haven’t been in touch. They are refusing to engage.’
Danish doctors who slowly brought Brabant back to sanity, using electroconvulsive therapy at stages of the treatment, told him that he would have to spend the rest of his life on strong drugs.
But after being released from hospital in 2012 he began weaning himself off his medication over the space of 18 months.
Professor Gore, who was once described by the Duke of Cambridge as an ‘inspiration’, worked as an oncologist for more than 35 years, and focused on ovarian cancer, melanoma and renal cell carcinoma.
In 2015, he was given The Royal Marsden’s Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Prince William.
The Duke of Cambridge said at the time: ‘I’ve found Martin a source of inspiration – his infectious enthusiasm and passion for his work, and his obvious compassion and kindness for his patients, their family and friends, reinforces my knowledge that The Royal Marsden is a truly special place.
‘He’s one of the pioneers of 20th century cancer care, and a friend, colleague and trusted doctor to many.’
Just a year later he was an awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his work in these areas.
A report in the Journal of Travel Medicine found that between 2007 and 2013, there were just under four cases of serious adverse effects from the vaccine per 100,000 doses.
This increased to 6.5 per 100,000 for those aged between 60 and 69, and 10.3 per 100,000 for those aged 70 and above.
Serious adverse effects recorded in the study included hospitalisation, life-threatening illness, permanent disability and death. Five people died from the jab in this period.
Peter Openshaw, an ex-president of the British Society for Immunology, told the Times that there has been a four-fold increase in the risk of side-effects for those 60 and above.
But he emphasised that the jab was much safer than exposure to yellow fever, which killed around 78,000 people in Africa in 2013.
The Royal Marsden Cancer charity shared the news on Facebook, saying: ‘It is with deep sadness that The Royal Marsden announces the sudden death of Professor Martin Gore CBE who died this morning.
‘Martin was at the heart of The Royal Marsden’s life and work in research, treatment and the training of our next generation of oncologists.
‘His contribution as Medical Director for 10 years, a Trustee of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, and as a clinician is unparalleled.
‘He has been a friend, colleague and mentor to so many people and his loss will be immense.’