The anti-vaccine movement has gained some momentum in the recent years, stating that vaccines have too many unwanted side effects and that they are responsible for conditions like Autism.
The purpose of all vaccines is to protect people from catching dangerous and potentially deadly diseases. But is there any truth in the anti-vaccine statements?
Well, the discovery that polio vaccine injected decades ago was infected with a dangerous virus called SV40 does raise some concerns regarding the safety of the vaccine. So let’s take a detailed look at that unfortunate accident.
What’s the story?
Back in the 1950s, two types of polio vaccines emerged thanks to the efforts of two scientists – Doctors Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin:
- Sabin vaccine (oral), which contained a weakened form of the polio virus
- Salk vaccine ( injectable), which contained the killed virus
However, to weaken the live polio virus the scientists had to pass it through host cells. They used rhesus monkey kidney cells. Later, when the strains were isolated, and the vaccine was ready for production, simian cells were again used to grow and harvest the polio virus.
What’s so bad about monkey cells, you ask? Nothing, except monkeys could be infected with simian viruses. Moreover, the technology back then wasn’t evolved enough to detect such viruses, as stated by Merck & Co, a pharmaceutical company.
Dr. Herald R. Cox also expressed his concern that the polio vaccine might be contaminated with viruses or microbic agents due to the use of human and monkey cells.
The discovery of SV40
The SV40 stands for Simian viruses 40 or Simian vacuolating virus 40. Among the first to detect the presence this virus were Ben Sweet, Maurice Hilleman, and Bernice Eddy.
Ben Sweet and Maurice Hilleman, scientists at Merc&Co, concluded that the polio vaccine, which was used to inoculate millions of Americans, was contaminated with the SV40. Even though formaldehyde was used to kill the polio virus in Salk’s vaccine, the SV40 was unaffected.
Meanwhile, Dr. Bernice Eddy studied minced rhesus monkey cells, cells from the same species of monkey used to create the vaccines. She injected the cells into hamsters and observed that the virus caused cancer in almost all infected hamsters.
One would think that in light of these discoveries the tainted vaccines would have been recalled, but that didn’t happen. The vaccines were used until 1963.
How deadly is SV40?
Given the fact that SV40 causes cancer in animals, one starts to think about its effect on the humans infected with it. The scientific community is divided on the subject with some claiming that SV40 can cause cancer in humans, while others are stating the opposite.
The facts are:
- SV40 is known carcinogen causing brain, bone, and lung cancer in animals
- SV40 is detected in some rare human cancers using PRC technology
- Scientists use SV40 to cause cancer in animals and study it
- Cancer rates have been rising steadily for the past decades
- The SV40 was found in people never inoculated with the tainted vaccines
Most official statements declare that there is no definite connection between the SV40 in the polio vaccine and the development of rare cancers. But there is mounting evidence that points to the opposite.