A virus of the kind that contaminated polio vaccines used decades ago may help cause some cases of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), said researchers in the journal The Lancet (Vol. 359, No: 9309: 817-823).
Scientists and the government have known about this contamination for decades (made new supposedly uncontaminated batches of the vaccine in 1961) but it never filtered down through the media to the consumer until now.
When the live virus vaccine for polio was developed in 1955, using polio virus grown on monkey kidneys, it was quickly approved because live virus vaccines were then, considered "better" than dead virus vaccines like the Salk vaccine. By the time scientists learned that some batches of the vaccine had been contaminated with SV40 virus from infected monkeys, and that SV40 might cause cancer in animals, about 100 million doses of the vaccine had been taken.
In 1961, the government ordered new batches of the vaccine to be made in a way that would prevent contamination with the virus. It then began studying whether the virus might cause cancer in humans.
Scientists have since found SV40 virus in people born after the affected vaccines were last used, so they believe SV40 may be passed in some cases from mother to child, or by sexual contact, or other means.
This isn't the first time a vaccine has been found to cause illness rather than protect against it. MMR vaccine has been linked with a type of autism and other vaccines have been suspected of raising the risk for Crone's Disease (a relatively rare disorder a few decades ago which is relatively common now) and chronic asthma.
Not to mention the mercury which is found in vaccines (mercury is toxic, even in small quantities).
Experts in noticing outbreaks of disease in vaccinated children have targeted the reason for less illness now (usually attributed to vaccines, a million dollar business for pharmaceuticals) to better sanitation and more knowledge about handling disease.
Two inventions which are in most households which have helped greatly the spread of disease are the flush toilet and the refrigerator. Even in the 1950's when I was young, one still saw the "ice man" (for those who had ice boxes) and many people in outlying communities (and some in cities) did not have flush toilets.
And yet, while infectious disease has been lessened, cancer is in epidemic. Are some of our vaccines adding to the cancer epidemic? The researchers in the Lancelot apparently have their suspicions about at least one vaccine. It is significantly to note that this vaccine is biting people 40 years after it was discontinued.
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