Study results show smallpox death toll may be lower than expected in the event of an outbreak and one vaccination may be as effective as many
Final results of a smallpox vaccine study conducted by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University show Americas preparedness for a smallpox outbreak may be greater than initially thought. The research shows 90 percent of those vaccinated 25 to 75 years ago maintain a substantial level of immunity. In addition, researchers concluded that in the long term, repeated vaccinations do not result in a higher level of disease protection. The research project is the largest of its kind ever conducted. The study is printed in the September edition of Nature Medicine.
"Previously, it had been widely accepted that smallpox virus effectiveness lasts only 3 to 5 years," said study principal investigator Mark Slifka, Ph.D., a scientist at the OHSU Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute. "This research shows that significant immunity levels last for many decades, perhaps throughout a persons entire life. It also shows that repeated vaccinations provide a short-term boost in immunity but, over time, do not create a sustained higher level of protection compared to those persons vaccinated only once."
Jim Newman | EurekAlert!
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