Vaccines and Viruses

A few weeks ago, I blogged about a review of a variety of studies that suggested that obesity may be caused by a virus. Among the viruses examined in the study were adenoviruses that are known to cause a build up of fat in the bodies of animals such as monkeys. The study specifically mentioned adenovirus 36, which has been tested in monkeys, chickens, and mice, among others.

Now, University of California – San Francisco researchers have found the first known example of an adenovirus crossing species – a human researcher and their family member were infected by an adenovirus that had spread through a California monkey colony in 2009. The virus is unusual in both populations, which means that the monkeys themselves may have caught it from a third, unidentified species.

This discovery has a number of implications. If these viruses can cross species, there seems to be more reason to question to validity of growing the viruses used in vaccines in, for example, chicken eggs, which after all may be contaminated with avian viruses such as the Rous-associated virus that causes obesity. Perhaps it is time to rethink vaccines, since it appears that they may actually infect us with disease instead of protecting us from it.

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