Tries to rewrite history
by J. D. Heyes
A government agency that keeps secrets from the American people is about as newsworthy as “Dog Bites Man,” but there is something inherently insidious about it when it involves the public health.
Recently the Center for Disease Control and Prevention deleted from its website pages revealing that the government-sanctioned polio vaccine that was administered to some 98 million Americans from 1955 to 1963 had been contaminated with a primate form of cancer virus.
The pages that were deleted dealt specifically with the fact that the Simian virus (SV40), which at one time was exclusive to monkeys, began showing up in polio vaccines in 1960. “Because SV40 was not discovered until 1960, no one was aware in the 1950s that polio vaccine could be contaminated,” the CDC website explained.
In fact, it was only discovered, the agency said, purely by accident:
Soon after its discovery in 1960, SV40 was identified in polio vaccine. It was found in the injected form of the vaccine (IPV), not the kind given by mouth (OPV). At that time, rhesus monkey kidney cells, which contain SV40 if the animal is infected, were used in preparing viral vaccines.
Though the tainted vaccine containing monkey cancer virus was discovered in 1960, “existing polio vaccine stocks were not recalled and were used until 1963,” said the deleted site.
That means the agency was, for a period of years, conspicuously dispersing vaccines containing a possible link to cancer to hundreds of millions of people in the U.S., UK, Australia and the former Soviet Union. The website SV40Foundation.org has more details on just how the vaccine was used following discovery of the cancer link.
“In 1961, SV40 was discovered by Dr. Bernice Eddy of the National Institute of Health, Division of Biologics when she took the material used to grow polio vaccines and injected it into hamsters,” the foundation says on its website. “Upon the discovery that SV40 was an animal carcinogen that had found its way into the polio vaccines, a new federal law was passed in 1961 that required that no vaccines contain this virus.
However, this law did not require that SV40 contaminated vaccines be thrown away or that the contaminated seed material (used to make all polio vaccines for the next four decades) be discarded. As a result, known SV40 contaminated vaccines were injected into children up until 1963.”
Michele Carbone, a scientist at the Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago, discovered in 2004 that the Soviet polio vaccine may even have been contaminated after 1963 – and quite possibly up to the early 1980s, according to the trade journal New Scientist.
“The vaccine was almost certainly used throughout the Soviet bloc and probably exported to China, Japan and several countries in Africa. That means hundreds of millions could have been exposed to SV40 after 1963,” the report said.
In refuting claims that SV40 in polio vaccines may have been responsible for some cancers, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) states that SV40 was also “present in cancers of people who either had or had not received the polio vaccine that was contaminated with SV40” [http://www.chop.edu].
In addition, CHOP notes, “people with cancers who were born after SV40 was no longer a contaminant of the polio vaccine were found to have evidence for SV40 in their cancerous cells.”
“Taken together, these findings do not support the hypothesis that SV40 virus contained in polio vaccines administered before 1963 cause cancers. In addition, available evidence suggests that SV40 virus is likely be transmitted to people by a mechanism other than vaccines,” the hospital said on its website.
But in 2005 the National Network for Immunization Information published a somewhat conflicting report regarding a link between SV40 and increased cancer rates.
“Although SV40 has biological properties consistent with a cancer-causing virus, it has not been conclusively established whether it has caused cancer in humans,” said the report. “Epidemiological studies of groups of people who received polio vaccine during 1955-1963 do not show an increased cancer risk.”
But later, the same report seems to contradict itself.
“However, a number of studies have found SV40 in certain forms of cancer in humans, such as mesotheliomas – rare tumors located in the lungs – brain and bone tumors; the virus has also been found to be associated with some types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.”