Biohacker Who Injected Himself with Untested Herpes Vaccine Found Dead in Sensory Deprivation Tank
Published: May 02, 2018 By Alex Keown
A biohacker who injected himself with an alleged experimental herpes vaccine before a crowded conference earlier this year was found dead in a Washington, D.C. sensory deprivation tank and the conspiracy theorists are running wild.
Aaron Traywick, the 28-year-old chief executive officer of Ascendance Biomedical, died Sunday. Washington, D.C. police confirmed the death to Vice News and said there is no evidence to suggest Traywick was the victim of foul play. An autopsy will be performed. However, across social media platforms, multiple unsubstantiated and sometimes wild theories were being spewed to suggest that Traywick was the victim of a homicide. Some of the more popular theories suggest his death was at the hands of an assassin in the employ of a myriad of suspects such as the government, big pharma, foreign governments and even his own colleagues at Ascendance or among the biohacker community.
Tristan Roberts, a colleague of Traywick at Ascendance, called the biohacker a “passionate visionary.” In a statement to Vice News, Roberts said Traywick tirelessly attempted to bring people together to “work on some of the most imposing challenges facing humanity.”
“While many in the biohacking scene disagreed with his methods, none of them doubted his intentions. He sought nothing short of a revolution in biomedicine; the democratization of science and the opening of the floodgates for global healing,” Roberts said in his statement.
Traywick and Ascendance gained notoriety during a February biohacker conference when the young CEO brazenly injected himself with what was called an experimental unproven and untested herpes gene therapy. Although it isn’t known exactly what Traywick injected himself with, he claimed the serum was a “live attenuated herpes virus with a missing protein.” Before Traywick injected himself, he claimed it had only been tested in mice up to that point.
During the BDYHAX conference in Texas, Traywick said the stunt was part of an effort to show transparency in what the company is doing to develop a treatment herpes type one and type two. Traywick claimed his company had been working on the vaccine for about a year. He had a goal, so he said, of developing a one-time vaccine against herpes that would be available to consumers for about $100 per year. Traywick was reported to have herpes and at the time of the injection said the live-testing was to demonstrate the company’s commitment to transparency. To media outlets though, Traywick said the live-testing was also a political statement about placing cures in the hands of people without the involvement of the healthcare industry.
With Traywick’s death, it is uncertain what will become of his small company. Vice reported that he had had something of a falling out with his colleagues “over the company’s direction and philosophical differences over how to best distribute its creations split the small startup.” Andreas Stuermer, the biohacker who developed the experimental vaccine that seeks to remove glycoprotein D from the virus, told Vice News that “the future was difficult to predict.” While Ascendance may close up shop, Stuermer said biohacking efforts will continue.