Benefit to having been vaccinated against smallpox as a child

Adults who were vaccinated against smallpox as children can be successfully revaccinated by using diluted doses of the vaccine and with fewer side effects, according to research published by Saint Louis University this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “We saw fewer adverse reactions in the participants who had been vaccinated before,” said Sharon Frey, M.D., the lead author of the study and an associate professor at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. “Our study included healthy adult volunteers between the ages of 32 and 60 who previously had been vaccinated. Our comparison group consisted of individuals who were otherwise healthy and between the ages of 18 and 31, who had never received a smallpox vaccination.”

Anthrax threat needs aggressive government action plan, say researchers

A reasonable defense against an airborne anthrax attack requires more aggressive action by the U.S. government than now planned, says a new study from Stanford Universiy. The government is relying too heavily on biosensors to pinpoint an anthrax attack and not doing enough to get large quantities of drugs and medical personnel to affected areas within hours, says the team at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

Single dose oral smallpox drug shown effective in cowpox-infected mice

Two versions of an oral drug that halts the deadly action of smallpox and related orthopox viruses have been shown by researchers in Alabama and California to be effective in cowpox-infected mice, whether given three to five days before or two to three days after infection. The study evaluated the dosage regimen and effectiveness of four different ether lipid analogs of cidofovir (CDV), a compound that blocks the activity of variola, the virus that causes smallpox, cowpox, vaccinia and other orthopox viruses. Shown most effective in treating lethal cowpox infection in mice were hexadecyloxypropyl-CDV (HDP-CDV) and octadecyloxyethyl-CDV (ODE-CDV). In addition, the study pinpointed the time period for effectiveness when the drug is administered prior to or after infection.

Gov’t launches smallpox Web site

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today invited all persons with questions about smallpox and the President’s vaccination plan to visit www.smallpox.gov for comprehensive and up-to-the-minute information. “This is a complicated issue that involves a careful balance between the possibility that smallpox might actually be released at some time by terrorists, and the known risks that are associated with the vaccine itself,” Secretary Thompson said. “I know from my own experience that this issue is complex and difficult, and we need to have answers easily available.”

Facing disfigurement in 2002

With all the discussion about possible smallpox bioterrorism attacks in the U.S., has the dermatology world begun to address the cosmetic implications that an outbreak would entail? Sure, it sounds petty when lives are at stake. But if thousands of people stand to potentially become infected, has medicine developed any better means of preventing disfigurement? Drainage? Lots and lots of aloe gel? Sedatives to keep people doped until the pustules pass?

See also:
>>Preparing for smallpox
>>When rashes kill
>>Smallpox immunity lasts longer than thought
>>Mass smallpox vaccination plan urged