The Virus and the Vaccine: Contaminated Vaccine, Deadly Cancers, and Government Neglect
  • The Virus and the Vaccine: Contaminated Vaccine, Deadly Cancers, and Government Neglect
  • The Virus and the Vaccine: Contaminated Vaccine, Deadly Cancers, and Government Neglect

The Virus and the Vaccine: Contaminated Vaccine, Deadly Cancers, and Government Neglect

by Debbie Bookchin, Jim Schumacher
     
 

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Jonas Salk's polio vaccine is regarded as a veritbale medical miracle, for it largely eradicated one of the most feared diseases of the 20th century. But the story of the vaccine has a dark side, one that has never been fully told before. Between 1954 and 1963, close to 98 million Americans received polio vaccinations contaminated with a carcinogenic monkey virus,

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Overview

Jonas Salk's polio vaccine is regarded as a veritbale medical miracle, for it largely eradicated one of the most feared diseases of the 20th century. But the story of the vaccine has a dark side, one that has never been fully told before. Between 1954 and 1963, close to 98 million Americans received polio vaccinations contaminated with a carcinogenic monkey virus, now known as SV40. The government downplayed the incident, and it was generally accepted that although oncogenic to lab animals, SV40 was harmless to humans. But now SV40 is showing up in human cancers, and prominent researchers are demanding a serious public health response to this forgotten polio vaccine contaminant. A gripping medical detective story, The Virus and the Vaccine raises major questions about vaccine policy.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“This well-researched, well-documented book unfurls a compelling scientific saga....Not only that, it's written with the zing of a medical thriller, featuring fully realized characters, dramatic conflicts, high-level politics and scientific egos big enough to levitate Stone Mountain.” —Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“This meticulously researched, levelheaded and well-written book should stir up considerable debate. Because the authors never became alarmist, this solid work of investigative reporting carries considerable weight, and deserves to be read by a large audience.” —Publishers Weekly

“Bookchin and Schumacher's fascinating, meticulously-researched account of the coverup, and its possible long-term health effects, is a deeply disturbing chapter in the recent history of science.” —Stephen S. Hall, New York Times Magazine science writer

Publishers Weekly
Journalists Bookchin and Schumacher argue that for nine years, from 1954 to 1963, almost every dose of polio vaccine produced in the world-and the 98 million Americans who received polio vaccinations-was contaminated with a cancer-causing virus from the monkey kidneys used to develop the vaccine. Although the polio vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk virtually ended polio as a threatening disease, the authors detail how "the screening techniques and observation periods that Salk and the vaccine manufacturers employed were not capable of always catching the contaminants." This sordid story spells out how repeated research studies showing that the "SV40" virus was in the vaccine were dismissed by federal health officials, so that "there would be no warning to consumers that the vaccine they and their children were receiving contained a live monkey virus whose effect on humans was entirely unknown." In the second part, the authors contend that even today such organizations as the National Institutes of Health continue to dismiss study results, even though numerous studies have shown that SV40 is capable of causing cancer in humans. The final and most horrific part of the story reports that Lederle Laboratories, the sole oral vaccine supplier in the U.S. from 1977 onward, continued to use monkey kidneys possibly infected by the SV40 virus in its manufacturing process until oral polio vaccine was removed from the market as late as January 2000. This meticulously researched, levelheaded and well-written book should stir up considerable debate. Because the authors never become alarmist, this solid work of investigative reporting carries considerable weight, and deserves to be read by a large audience. Agent, David Black. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312342722
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
07/01/2005
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
566,992
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.89(d)

Meet the Author

Debbie Bookchin has been a journalist since 1979 and has won awards for her news, feature and investigative reporting. She has written for The Boston Globe, The Nation, The New York Times, and numerous other publications.
Jim Schumacher is a lawyer and writer whose work has appeared in Boston Magazine, Newsday, and The Atlantic Monthly, among others. Bookchin and Schumacher are married to each other and live in Vermont with their daughter.
The article on which The Virus and the Vaccine is based was originally published in The Atlantic Monthly in 2000 and earned a selection in the HarperCollins book Best Science Writing 2001.

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