Smallpox Vaccine May Prevent Spread of HIV, Study Shows
Raymond Weinstein, research professor in the Public and International Affairs Biodefense Program, recently concluded a study that suggests that the eradication of smallpox and the end of smallpox vaccination in the mid-20th century may have caused a loss of protection that contributed to the rapid spread of HIV in the 21st century.
The results of the investigation – conducted in collaboration with researchers from George Washington University, the University of California at Los Angeles and AFG Biosolutions – were published on May 18 in the open source journal BMC Immunology.
According to Weinstein, who was the study’s principal investigator, the relatively sudden appearance and explosive spread of HIV throughout Africa and around the world beginning in the 1950s has never been adequately explained.
“There have been several proposed explanations for the rapid spread of HIV in Africa, including wars, the reuse of unsterilized needles and the contamination of early batches of polio vaccine. However, all of these have been either disproved or do not sufficiently explain the behavior of the HIV pandemic,” says Weinstein.
To learn more, visit http://news.gmu.edu/articles/2952.