Workshop on Simian Virus-40 (SV-40)
The following statement is an introduction for a more detailed packet on SV-40 and animal viruses in the production of vaccines.
Statement by Barbara Loe Fisher, Co-Founder & President
National Vaccine Information Center
Workshop on Simian Virus-40 (SV-40): A Possible Human Polyomavirus
January 27-28, 1997
The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), which was founded in 1982 and represents health care consumers and health care professionals concerned about vaccine safety, became actively involved in 1994 in researching reports of contamination of childhood vaccines with animal viruses and the possibility that inter-species transfer of animal viruses into humans via vaccines has had a negative impact on public health. Our concern was that government health agencies and industry had not adequately addressed many of the most important questions that remained unanswered about the contamination of polio vaccines with simian (monkey) viruses.
In June 1994, NVIC sent a letter to HHS Secretary Donna Shalala in which we reviewed documented evidence that polio vaccines have been contaminated with simian viruses and that, not only has the public not been adequately informed of this fact, but little has been done to determine whether this contamination has impacted negatively on the public health. In our letter we reviewed an article published in the March 1992 issue of The Lancet in which attorney Walter Kyle provided evidence that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may have been created after simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) entered the human population when African green monkey kidney tissues infected with SIV were used to produce polio vaccines. The Kyle article pointed out that scientists at the Food and Drug Administration and within industry suspected as early as the 1950's and knew, by the mid-1970's, that polio vaccine had been contaminated with simian viruses and that at least one of these monkey viruses - SV-40 - was later found to cause leukemia and cancerous tumors in lab animals.
Our June 1994 letter to Secretary Shalala called on the government to conduct genetic testing of all archived lots of polio vaccine for the presence of simian viruses or virus-like particles and asked that this testing be monitored and verified by an independent group of doctors, scientists, and members of the public. In addition, NVIC asked that the government release to the public all data gathered from any previous testing on these and other vaccines and biological products, as it relates to simian virus contamination, including the isolation, identification and genetic sequencing of any virus or virus-like particles, other than polio, which have been isolated and identified in any polio vaccine or other biological produced licensed by the FDA as safe for human use.
In the September 1995 issue of THE VACCINE REACTION published by NVIC, we reported that California pathologist and immunologist W. John Martin, M.D., Ph.D., had published evidence that he had discovered an atypical virus infecting some children and adults, who are suffering from neurological, immune and psychiatric dysfunction, which is genetically linked to the African green monkey. After eight years of work culturing out stealth viruses from patients suffering from immune and brain dysfunction, Martin and his colleagues reported they used DNA sequence analysis to identify one of the viruses as being of African green monkey origin. Dr. Martin subsequently made a presentation at a Vaccine Safety Forum Workshop at the Institute of Medicine in November 1995 expressing his concern about possible contamination of polio vaccines with simian viruses and the need to immediately determine the prevalence of stealth viruses of simian origin in the U.S. population and whether these stealth viruses may be contributing to chronic immune system and brain disorders in children and adults.
In the April 1996 issue of THE VACCINE REACTION, NVIC reported that California microbiologist Howard B. Urnovitz, Ph.D., had provided compelling evidence at the Eighth Annual Houston Conference on AIDS in America that the human immunodeficiency virus Type 1 (HIV-1) is a monkey-human hybrid that was created after more than 320,000 Africans were injected in the late 1950's with experimental live oral polio vaccines contaminated with live simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). Pointing out that endogenous retroviruses can easily recombine with fragments of other viruses, both human and animal, and form new hybrid viruses called chimeras, Dr. Urnovitz explained how SIV could have recombined with the normal genes of the Africans, who received the contaminated vaccines, and created a monkey-human hybrid now known as HIV-1.
The published research of Illinois molecular pathologist Michael Carbone and other scientists, who have discovered SV-40 genes and proteins in patients with virulent forms of bone, lung and brain cancer, contributes to the urgent need for federal health officials and industry to seriously investigate the growing amount of evidence that contamination of polio vaccines with monkey viruses may be contributing to immune and neurological dysfunction in our population. It is especially important in light of the fact that Dr. Martin's work suggests that stealth viruses of simian origin can be transmitted from human to human; Dr. Urnovitz's work suggests that simian viruses can recombine with human viruses and form deadly genetic-human hybrid viruses that can be transmitted from human to human; and scientists studying the presence of SV-40 in humans suggest that SV-40 can be transmitted from human to human, specifically mother to child.
Due to the obvious lack of past or present technological capability to guarantee that vaccines are not contaminated with unknown monkey viruses, the National Vaccine Information Center maintains that it is scientifically prudent and ethically responsible to stop producing vaccines using monkey tissues in order to prevent the possibility of cross-species transfer of animal viruses into the human population via vaccines. No mother or father wants to risk the possibility that monkey viruses may be put into their child's body, no matter what federal disease control goal is used as justification and regardless of whether or not there is proof that the presence of monkey viruses in the human body causes illness.
The ends do not justify the means. Making the decision that it is appropriate to allow for the possibility that vaccines may be contaminated with unknown monkey viruses without informing the public of that fact is a betrayal of the public trust by public health officials and pharmaceutical companies who should know better.
The National Vaccine Information Center is calling for:
- no more animal tissues to be used in the production of vaccines;
- a scientific investigation conducted by independent researchers outside of government and industry into the prevalence of viruses of simian genetic origin in the U.S. population;
- the creation of retrospective and prospective long term studies conducted by independent researchers outside of government and industry to evaluate whether viruses of simian origin introduced into the human population via vaccines have played a role in the emergence of HIV-1 as well as the rising incidence of immune and neurological dysfunction such as cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, unexplained encephalopathies and neuropathies, developmental delays, and personality and behavior disorders; and
- a congressional investigation to illuminate for Congress and the public how the mass vaccination research, development and policymaking infrastructure operates in order to evaluate whether new, independent oversight mechanisms should be created to insure that the public health and safety is not compromised by current and future vaccines.
It is important that these steps and other actions be taken immediately in part so that more complete scientific understanding of the etiology of HIV-1, SV-40 associated cancers and other immune and brain disorders may lead more quickly to the development of appropriate therapies to restore normal immune and neurological function in affected children and adults. With 200 viral and bacterial vaccines in the research pipeline and a new AIDS vaccine being rushed to market, the National Vaccine Information Center maintains that it is particularly important that meaningful action be taken without delay in order to protect the health of not only this generation but future generations of Americans.