Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Did the end of smallpox vaccination cause the explosive spread of HIV?

Date:
May 18, 2010
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
Vaccinia immunization, as given to prevent the spread of smallpox, produces a five-fold reduction in HIV replication in the laboratory. Researchers suggest that the end of smallpox vaccination in the mid-20th century may have caused a loss of protection that contributed to the rapid contemporary spread of HIV.

Photograph of a Nigerian child being immunized during the Smallpox Eradication and Measles Control Program of West Africa in 1960.
Credit: CDC/Dr. J.D. Millar

Vaccinia immunization, as given to prevent the spread of smallpox, produces a five-fold reduction in HIV replication in the laboratory. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Immunology suggest that the end of smallpox vaccination in the mid-20th century may have caused a loss of protection that contributed to the rapid contemporary spread of HIV.

Raymond Weinstein, a family doctor turned laboratory scientist at George Mason University, Manassas, Virginia, worked with a team of researchers from George Washington University and UCLA. The researchers looked at the ability of white blood cells taken from people recently immunized with vaccinia to support HIV replication compared to unvaccinated controls. They found significantly lower viral replication in blood cells from vaccinated individuals.

Weinstein said, "There have been several proposed explanations for the rapid spread of HIV in Africa, including wars, the reuse of unsterilized needles and the contamination of early batches of polio vaccine. However, all of these have been either disproved or do not sufficiently explain the behavior of the HIV pandemic. Our finding that prior immunization with vaccinia virus may provide an individual with some degree of protection to subsequent HIV infection suggests that the withdrawal of such vaccination may be a partial explanation."

Smallpox immunization was gradually withdrawn from the 1950s to the 1970s following the worldwide eradication of the disease, and HIV has been spreading exponentially since approximately the same time period. Weinstein and his colleagues propose that vaccination may confer protection against HIV by producing long term alterations in the immune system, possibly including the expression of a certain receptor, CCR5, on the surface of a person's white blood cells which is exploited by both viruses.

Speaking about the results, Weinstein said, "While these results are very interesting and hopefully may lead to a new weapon against the HIV pandemic, they are very preliminary and it is far too soon to recommend the general use of vaccinia immunization for fighting HIV."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Raymond S Weinstein, Michael M Weinstein, Kenneth Alibek, Michael I Bukrinsky and Brichacek Beda. Significantly Reduced CCR5-tropic HIV-1 Replication in vitro in Cells from Subjects Previously Immunized with Vaccinia Virus. BMC Immunology, 2010; (in press) [link]

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "Did the end of smallpox vaccination cause the explosive spread of HIV?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100517204405.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2010, May 18). Did the end of smallpox vaccination cause the explosive spread of HIV?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100517204405.htm
BioMed Central. "Did the end of smallpox vaccination cause the explosive spread of HIV?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100517204405.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) Angelina's Jolie's decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy in 2013 inspired many women to seek early screenings for the disease. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins