The findings of a study published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases revealed that certain adverse events related to smallpox vaccination are linked to genetic factors. Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr. and colleagues studied 346 individuals who had undergone smallpox vaccination, out of which 94 developed fevers after vaccination. The researchers analyzed 19 gene clusters (called haplotypes) that are linked to different immune responses to viral infections. The study identified the link between fevers after immunization with live virus particles, as in smallpox vaccine, and specific gene clusters in the interleukin-1 (IL-1) gene complex on chromosome 2, and the interleukin-18 gene on chromosome 11. "Vaccines are the safest and most effective way to prevent a number of very important childhood and adult diseases," said Dr. Stanley. "Our work is designed to identify ways we might make vaccines even more acceptable in the future by discovering ways to further reduce the chance of minor adverse events."
The U.K. Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is expected to endorse Gardasil, a vaccine against the virus that causes most cervical cancer. The decision by the JCVI is considered delayed by some, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Gardasil last summer. The (JCVI) will start administering the vaccine in 12-year old girls, starting next year. The vaccine protects against infections from the human papilloma virus (HPV), of which two strains – HPV-16 and HPV-18 – account for 70% of cervical cancer. Strains HPV- 6 and HPV-11 account for about 90% of genital warts. Hugh McKinney, spokesperson for the National Family Campaign, was of the opinion that vaccination against a sexually transmitted virus would encourage sexual behavior of minor girls. "I don't think girls are thinking about cancer when they decide whether or not to have sex," said Syed Ahmed, member of the JCVI, in response to similar remarks. "They are more concerned about becoming pregnant or catching chlamydia or gonorrhoea."
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