Smallpox

ramonmercado

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Source: National Jewish Medical and Research Center

Posted: March 24, 2006

Research Suggests Therapy Against Serious Side Effects Of Smallpox Vaccine

Smallpox is considered a potential terrorist weapon, but millions of people in the United States are currently advised not to get a vaccine to the disease because they are susceptible to developing a severe adverse reaction. Researchers at National Jewish Medical and Research Center report in the March issue of Immunity that a deficiency in the innate immune response may pre-dispose patients with atopic dermatitis, or eczema, to developing the skin condition eczema vaccinatum after vaccination. The findings suggest potential therapeutic targets, which may reduce the risk of this devastating side effect.

"I believe these findings could have a significant impact on our ability to vaccinate individuals with eczema and better protect them against potential bio-terrorist attacks involving smallpox," said Michael Howell, Ph.D., first author of the report and Instructor of Pediatrics at National Jewish Medical and Research Center. "We identify potential therapies, which should be further tested to determine if they can effectively and safely protect susceptible patients against eczema vaccinatum."

Eczema vaccinatum occurs when the vaccinia virus, which is currently used for the smallpox vaccine, replicates uncontrollably and circulates through the entire body. Eczema vaccinatum kills 1 to 6 percent of those affected. Up to 30 percent of children younger than 2 years of age with the disease die. It is also possible that atopic dermatitis patients can develop eczema vaccinatum even if they don't get the vaccine, but come into close personal contact with people who recently received the vaccine.

Approximately 17 percent of children in the United States are diagnosed with atopic dermatitis, suggesting that close to 50 million people in the United States face an increased risk of eczema vaccinatum following the smallpox vaccine. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control currently recommends that individuals with atopic dermatitis, and those who come into close contact with them, do not receive the live vaccine due to potential adverse reactions. This accounts for approximately 50% of the population in the United States. In case of an actual smallpox outbreak, they would likely receive the vaccine and face the increased risk of developing eczema vaccinatum.

The National Jewish research team, led by Donald Leung, M.D., Ph.D., Edelstein Family Chair of Pediatric Allergy-Immunology, had previously reported that atopic dermatitis patients have lower levels of disease-fighting antimicrobial peptides in their skin than people without the disease. They also reported that one particular antimicrobial peptide, called LL-37, could kill vaccinia virus when it is grown in cell culture.

In their current report, the researchers found that lower levels of LL-37 in the skin of patients with atopic dermatitis did indeed allow the uncontrolled growth of vaccinia virus. Skin cells from atopic dermatitis patients failed to increase LL-37 production in response to the vaccinia virus infection, while skin cells from healthy controls and patients with the skin disease psoriasis samples did ramp up LL-37 production. When the researchers added LL-37 to the infected atopic dermatitis skin cells, vaccinia virus growth slowed significantly.

"It is becoming increasingly clear how important antimicrobial peptides are in immune defense," said Dr. Leung. "They are part of the fast-acting, innate immune response. Because atopic dermatitis patients fail to mount a vigorous innate response with antimicrobial peptides, vaccinia virus infection gets well established and the slower adaptive immune response cannot eradicate it."

Atopic dermatitis patients have high levels of signaling molecules interleukin-4 (IL-4) and interleukin-13 (IL-13) in their skin. The researchers found that IL-4 and IL-13 inhibited the production of LL-37 in atopic dermatitis patients. When they added antibodies to neutralize the two interleukins, levels of LL-37 rose in atopic dermatitis patients, and the vaccinia virus infection was controlled.

"Antibodies or other drugs that neutralize IL-4 and IL-13 are currently being developed," said Dr. Howell. "We think they should be evaluated as potential therapies that could be given at the same time as the smallpox vaccine as protection against potentially fatal side effects."

###
The research was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and is part of the ongoing work of the Atopic Dermatitis and Vaccinia Network.



http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 184135.htm
edit to amend title.
 

ramonmercado

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CDC Swoops On Smallpox Scab In Historical Society Exhibition
21 May 2011

A "Bizarre Bits" exhibit put together at the Virginia Historical Society included an original 1876 handwritten letter which had what looked like a smallpox scab attached to it. A government scientist who attended the exhibit became so concerned that the scab might transmit smallpox infection that he alerted the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The CDC promptly sent two representatives clad in surgical gowns and gloves to carefully remove the scab from the display case, seal it in bio-bags and take it back to headquarters for testing.

Dr. Levengood, President of the Virginia Historical Society (VHS) said the scab, which was light brown, crumbling and about the size of a fingernail, attracted a great deal of attention when people came to the exhibit. Levengood added that when displaying the letter with the scab they had no idea it might pose a health hazard, and had only thought of it as a weird item.

The CDC explained that it was simply following procedures when there is a public health concern about something unusual.

Lee Shepherd, VHS vice-president, said of the letter and scab:

"It was certainly interesting, and a little bit out of the ordinary, but you'd be surprised at some of the things we get around here."



The 130-year-old letter was written by a Richmond man and posted to his father in Charlottesville. It gives us a small glimpse of the first steps in immunization.

Quotes from the letter:

"Dear Pa. . . The piece I inclose is perfectly fresh and was taken from an infant's arm yesterday. . . Dr. Harris says the inclosed scab will vaccinate 12 persons, but if you want more, you must send for it. I will pin this to the letter so that you cannot lose it as you did before."



It was not until the 1940s that the smallpox injection vaccine became widely available. Beforehand, smallpox scabs would be rubbed onto the skin with the hope of developing immunity. The expectation was that the individual would get a mild infection and be protected for life. Unfortunately, the subsequent infection was often very severe, as was the case with Benjamin Franklin's son, who died of smallpox after having scabs rubbed onto his skin in 1736.

The smallpox vaccination campaign eventually managed to eradicate the disease in 1980. Only two live samples exist in secure laboratories today, one in the USA and the other in Russia. After smallpox was eradicated WHO (World Health Organization) asked all countries worldwide to destroy their smallpox laboratory stocks or securely send them to the two laboratories mentioned above. Although it appears everybody cooperated properly, we have no compelling proof of this. Consequently, some people are concerned that hidden stashes could one day be used by bioterrorists.

WHO is currently debating whether the two labs should destroy their smallpox stocks or continue with research? While some experts worry about an accidental leak, resulting in new outbreaks, others say that the only way to respond to a bioterrorist attack is to continue with research, which would mean preserving current stocks. Whatever WHO decides is academic anyway, because the USA and Russia can choose to ignore the recommendations - they are not binding.

Although the smallpox virus is tough and can survive for several months and even years, most experts say it is highly unlikely a period of 130 years poses any risk to human health.

Historians believe smallpox emerged in humans approximately 10,000 BC. The pustular rash found on the mummified body of Pharaoh Ramses V of Egypt is the first physical evidence of probable smallpox. At the end of the 18th century smallpox is thought to have killed at least 400,000 people in Europe - between 20% and 60% of infected people died (80% of infected children died). According to the WHO, between 300 and 500 million people died in the 20th century from smallpox. Out of 15 million people estimated to have become infected with smallpox in 1967, two million died.


Article URL: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/226098.php
 

amester

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:?: I thought that the smallpox vaccine was developed in the late 1700s
 

Kondoru

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People still having that jab?

I guess the pharmacutical busineeses are profiteering
 

ramonmercado

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'Forgotten' US smallpox vials found in cardboard box

Long forgotten vials of smallpox left in a cardboard box have been discovered by a government scientist at a research centre near Washington, officials say.

The virus, believed dead, was located in six freeze-dried and sealed vials, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

It is said to be the first time unaccounted-for smallpox has been discovered in the US.

The disease was officially declared eradicated in the 1980s.

"The vials appear to date from the 1950s. Upon discovery, the vials were immediately secured in a CDC-registered select agent containment laboratory in Bethesda, [Maryland]," according to a CDC statement.

"There is no evidence that any of the vials labelled variola has been breached, and onsite biosafety personnel have not identified any infectious exposure risk to lab workers or the public," the statement added.

Government agencies were notified of the discovery on 1 July, after National Institutes of Health (NIH) employees discovered the vials labelled "variola", also known as smallpox.

The vials were located in an unused area of a storage room in a Food and Drug Administration laboratory on an NIH campus in Bethesda.

The vials were subsequently transported to a secure facility in Atlanta, Georgia, on 7 July. ...

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-28221185
 

ramonmercado

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NIH failed to notify employees about smallpox discovery, despite promises to be more open

Employees at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. learned about the discovery of decades-old smallpox vials from news reports – not their employer. It marks the second time in three years that NIH has stayed mum on potential public risks.

Only July 1, employees found a box of vials in boxes that appear to be from the 1950s when they were cleaning out an unused laboratory storage room in preparation to move the lab over to the Food and Drug Administration’s main campus in nearby Silver Spring. The current lab has been operated by the FDA since 1972.

Of the 16 freeze-dried vials, six were labeled as containing variola, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says is “the severe and most common form of smallpox.” The labels on the other 10 vials were unclear as to what they contained.

On Monday, the CDC arrived at the NIH campus to remove the specimens to their high-containment facility in Atlanta, where overnight testing in the Biosafety Level-4 (BSL-4) Lab confirmed the presence of smallpox. The Georgia-based agency is currently performing additional testing to discover whether the materials inside the vials are viable. This testing could take up to two weeks, the CDC said in a Tuesday statement.

That statement, which was made over a week after the smallpox vials were found, created a news frenzy. Also on Tuesday, NIH posted on its blog for employees to sign up for AlertNIH, a managed communications service that allows employees and contractors to receive emergency information on both personal and government devices.

AlertNIH was not used at any point to alert the agency’s 18,000 Bethesda-based employees to the presence of smallpox at the sprawling campus. ...

http://rt.com/usa/171676-nih-didnt-noti ... -smallpox/
 

ramonmercado

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They manage it so well...

US disease labs made dangerous pathogen transport errors

US government infectious disease labs mishandled dangerous pathogens five times in the last decade, according to a health agency report.

This year alone, workers mishandled samples of anthrax and the highly-infectious H5N1 avian flu.

In response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has closed the two labs involved.

The agency has also temporarily barred high-security labs from transporting dangerous pathogens.

There have been no reported infections from previous cases, and no-one potentially exposed to anthrax has shown signs of illness, CDC officials said.

"These events should never have happened," CDC Director Tom Frieden told reporters on Friday.

"I'm disappointed, and frankly I'm angry about it," he said, adding later he was "astonished that this could have happened here".

The incidents were listed in a report on a potential anthrax exposure in June, which occurred when researchers in a high-level biosecurity laboratory failed to follow proper procedures and did not deactivate the bacteria.

Anthrax bacterium, shown in a 2001 US defence department photo
The anthrax bacterium, shown in a 2001 US defence department photo, can cause death if untreated
The samples were then moved to a lower-security lab in the agency's Atlanta campus.

"This is not the first time an event of this nature has occurred at CDC, nor the first time it occurred from the [bioterror response] laboratory," the report said. ...

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-28268640
 

Kondoru

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It beats shark attacks <yawns>
 

GNC

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One of the articles above states smallpox can be infectious for months or even years, but what is keeping it alive? Are the samples kept "fed" with anything to sustain them? If so, why bother? Wouldn't it be safer to let it dwindle to nothing?
 

ramonmercado

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They manage it so well...
Not just smallpox.

For the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2014 was a bad year. After a series of errors in which some agency employees were potentially exposed to anthrax and others accidentally shipped a dangerous strain of influenza virus to another lab, director Tom Frieden imposed reforms to improve safety practices. Nevertheless, the CDC, which is based in Atlanta, Georgia, reported last December that some of its lab workers had potentially been exposed to the Ebola virus.

The agency subsequently established an external committee to evaluate its biosafety practices. On 13 January, that panel issued a scathing report that was made public by the CDC on 16 March.Nature spoke to two of the report’s authors: Joseph Kanabrocki, a microbiologist at the University of Chicago in Illinois, and Kenneth Berns, a molecular geneticist at the University of Florida in Gainesville. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

In the report, you write, “We are very concerned that the CDC is on the way to losing credibility”. That’s a very strong statement.
Berns:
The CDC is really meant to be the leader in terms of working with dangerous microbial pathogens. They need in fact to set the example for everybody else. You can't require that people on the outside do it right if you're not going to do it right yourself. ...

http://www.nature.com/news/us-health-agency-blasted-over-lab-safety-violations-1.17176
 

EnolaGaia

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Ancient strains of smallpox DNA retrieved from Viking teeth provide the first hard evidence of the disease's presence in humans pre-dating the 17th century.
Extinct Genetic Strains of Smallpox – World’s Deadliest Virus – Discovered in the Teeth of Viking Skeletons

Scientists have discovered extinct strains of smallpox in the teeth of Viking skeletons — proving for the first time that the killer disease plagued humanity for at least 1400 years.

Smallpox spread from person to person via infectious droplets, killed around a third of sufferers and left another third permanently scarred or blind. Around 300 million people died from it in the 20th century alone before it was officially eradicated in 1980 through a global vaccination effort — the first human disease to be wiped out.

Now an international team of scientists have sequenced the genomes of newly discovered strains of the virus after it was extracted from the teeth of Viking skeletons from sites across northern Europe. The findings have been published in Science today (July 23, 2020). ...

... “We discovered new strains of smallpox in the teeth of Viking skeletons and found their genetic structure is different to the modern smallpox virus eradicated in the 20th century. We already knew Vikings were moving around Europe and beyond, and we now know they had smallpox. People traveling around the world quickly spread Covid-19 and it is likely Vikings spread smallpox. Just back then, they traveled by ship rather than by plane.

“The 1400-year-old genetic information extracted from these skeletons is hugely significant because it teaches us about the evolutionary history of the variola virus that caused smallpox.” ...

Historians believe smallpox may have existed since 10,000 BC but until now there was no scientific proof that the virus was present before the 17th century. It is not known how it first infected humans but, like Covid-19, it is believed to have come from animals. ...
FULL STORY: https://scitechdaily.com/extinct-ge...-discovered-in-the-teeth-of-viking-skeletons/
 

escargot

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Is this the only thread we have on smallpox? It was a scourge on humanity for at least 3,000 years.

How it was eradicated is fascinating.

It was done by a campaign run by the WHO with mass vaccination followed by surveillance/containment, which means tracking down isolated outbreaks and rushing teams out to vaccinate everyone in the vicinity.

Milkmaids were traditionally beautiful because they didn't have smallpox scarring, having caught cowpox early on.
Cowpox is a rash on cows' udders which is closely enough related to smallpox to give lifelong immunity. Lucky girls!

There were folk-methods of preventing smallpox, such as grinding up sufferers' dried-ups scabs for children to inhale. This was long before Jenner. People had long understood that this inoculation would work but not why.
 
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