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Author Topic: Smallpox vaccine may offer protection against HIV infection  (Read 1184 times)

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Offline Matts

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Smallpox vaccine may offer protection against HIV infection
« on: January 06, 2011, 05:34:41 PM »
Smallpox vaccine may offer protection against HIV infection

According to a recent study  published in BMC Immunology, inoculation with the vaccinia virus, the smallpox vaccine, may offer protection against primary HIV infection.

HIV-1 and HIV-2 are believed to have entered  human populations starting around 1931 from primate species (chimpanzees for HIV-1 and sooty mangabeys for HIV-2). But "beginning in the mid-to-late 1950s, both types of HIV entered a phase of exponential spread, first within Africa and then around the world." Explanations for this epidemic include long-standing states of war, poor hospital practices and behavioral factors.

The authors of the study (Weinstein et al) hypothesized that the cessation of smallpox vaccination programs once smallpox was eradicated may have left populations more susceptible to primary infection with HIV.

The human subjects of the study were all HIV-negative and included 10 subjects that were previously vaccinated with the vaccinia virus and 10 that were naive to the virus (never vaccinated). Blood was drawn from each subject and fresh peripheral blood mononuclear cells (mostly lymphocytes and monocytes) were grown in cell cultures. Two strains of HIV were added to the cells and incubated appropriately to enhance infection of the cells with the HIV virus.

Under the various experimental conditions, the blood cells from the vaccinated subjects showed a statistically significant reduction in viral replication (up to a 5-fold decrease of viral replication on day 13)  compared to the viral replication in blood cells from unvaccinated subjects. The results were the most pronounced when infecting with the viral strain requiring the co-receptor CCR5. This result is significant since primary HIV-1 infections are caused almost exclusively by the CCR5-tropic HIV-1 strains.

The authors speculate "that prior immunization with vaccinia virus might play a role in providing an individual with some degree of protection to subsequent HIV infection and/or disease progression."*

Recent studies suggest that the smallpox vaccine provides some level of defense against HIV. Both the smallpox and HIV exploit a receptor called CCR5, which is expressed on the surface of white blood cells. Researchers theorize that one factor in the sudden spread of HIV in the early 1980s was the result of eradication of smallpox in the late 1970s, and the subsequent and abrupt decline in smallpox vaccinations worldwide. #

 *http://www.examiner.com/science-news-in-national/smallpox-vaccine-may-offer-protection-against-hiv-infection

#http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8686750.stm

Full Study:
http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2172/11/23
« Last Edit: January 06, 2011, 05:42:50 PM by Matts »
triumeq

 


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