The working group is part of the International Virology Information Service (IVIS)), and it is composed of leading virologists from all over Europe. The Virology Section of IVIS was launched in March 1999 to give international coverage of relevant virology tasks, in order to overcome technical obstacles associated with scientific communication. In October 2002, IVIS was merged with NanWind produced by the Ministry of Public Health of the Republic of Hungary. Since the formation of the health ministry, Dr Hupa Abagyan has been rector of the Virology Section of IVIS. Finally, Dr Mark Aime has been the director of the Virology Section at the Ministry of Public Health of the Republic of Hungary, for the period 2000 / 2001.
What is the first evidence that there was a connection between polio and SV40?
In January 1996, PCR technology suddenly turned up in SV40 in the blood of 29 children in the United States (Richardson and DeFranco, 1996). It was therefore possible to detect several fragments that could be the sole component of the virus. From the samples collected, it was established that isolated SV40 was capable of infecting polioviruses (Richardson and DeFranco, 1996). From March 1996, a Danish study of 132 seronegative post-polio survivors of the 1963 virus-vaccine epidemic estimated SV40-like sequences in 33 percent (Deeks BS, Vwallester Antero, McBride T, and Visscher. Unpublished data. May 2001), of the 100 SV40 sequences detected to date in the United States (DF) (Rothstein and Lederberg, 1995). As a result, along with deaths from human SV40 infections, the number of fatal SV40 infectious mononucleosis cases was also estimated in the Netherlands (Jacobs HB, Herrnstein and Lederberg. Unpublished data. December 1996). When the United States had a serious poliomyelitis epidemic after the vaccination, the CDC claimed that SV40 found in the laboratory of Robert Gallo and others proved that the vaccine was not safe (Hameed IP [now at Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, CA], April 7, 1963 [June 22, 1996]). However, for the vaccine to have caused such a ‘herd immunity’ effect, at least 40 million people would have had to be immunized. If a person had one or more SV40 infections during life, it might have given him or her immunity maintained to a high level for decades, rather than simply stopping at one’s mid-50s. Moreover, it was global epidemics of polio that killed tens of millions during the second half of the twentieth century. Therefore, any epidemics occurring after the introduction of the SV40 vaccine in 1955 would have given only temporary immunity and thus could not account for higher than expected pneumonia and mortality figures from polio.
Were these 11 samples from children who lived in the United States the same SV40 as the samples from Belgian children?
Yes, some population control samples from people in the United States were SV40-positive, probably at birth (Dudley RW, May 17, 1977; Sovri pneumo subtype 1 strain [later expansion to subtype 2]; Bankole SL, Cabral R, Peterson L, Whitten TJ, and Rothstein AR. Unpublished data. May 2001). Similarly, in the strongest evidence of SV40-laboratory contamination to date, antibody to SV40 strain 33 from 8 U.S. children born before 1957 were positive, probably at birth (Pallus SR, Leach RW, Gordon PG, Rosenbloom JP, and Zalta J. Biochemical methods for cultures of human cell line virus. Biochemical Methods 160:1717-1734,198:1960-1970).