The Virus and the Vaccine: The True Story of a Cancer-Causing Monkey Virus, Contaminated Polio Vaccine, and the Millions of Americans Exposed

The Virus and the Vaccine: The True Story of a Cancer-Causing Monkey Virus, Contaminated Polio Vaccine, and the Millions of Americans Exposed

by Debbie Bookchin
     
 

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Jonas Salk's polio vaccine has taken on an almost legendary quality as a 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

Overview

Jonas Salk's polio vaccine has taken on an almost legendary quality as a 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. A concerted government effort downplayed the incident, and it was generally accepted that although oncogenic to laboratory animals, SV40 was harmless to humans.

But now SV40 in 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

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781466848993
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
07/02/2013
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
680,702
File size:
612 KB

Meet the Author

Debbie Bookchin is a prize-winning journalist who has written for The New York Times, The Nation, and The Boston Globe, among others.

Jim Schumacher has written science articles for periodicals including the Atlantic Monthly and Boston Magazine. They are married to each other and live in Burlington, Vermont.


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.

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