Skip to comments.Pill could end the terror of smallpox
Posted on 03/19/2002 6:47:35 PM PST by aculeus
A POWERFUL drug that blocks the action of the smallpox virus in animals has been developed for the first time, paving the way for new treatments for humans that could be taken in pill form.
Although smallpox was eradicated in 1977 by a worldwide vaccination programme, no antiviral drug has ever been proven to halt the disease once it has been contracted, raising fears that it could be used as a biological weapon.
One drug normally used to treat Aids patients, cidofovir, has a limited effect against smallpox-like diseases in monkeys but it is not readily absorbed by human cells and must be injected intravenously. This would make it unsuitable for mass treatment in the event of a terrorist attack using smallpox.
New research, however, has now disclosed that a derivative of cidofovir, known as HDP-CDV, is 100 times more potent than its parent drug, making it the best candidate yet for the oral drug that would protect populations against smallpox bioterrorism.
Experiments at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) have shown that HDP-CDV stops the action of the variola virus which causes smallpox and related diseases in mice and human tissue cultures. The drug prevented the death of mice infected with cowpox, a disease normally fatal to the rodents, when the animals were given five daily oral doses.
Further animal testing and human safety trials will be needed before it can be considered a viable treatment for smallpox but the early results have convinced researchers they are on to the most promising therapy yet identified.
Until now, the eradication and control of smallpox relied upon vaccination, Karl Hostetler, professor of medicine at UCSD, who led the study, said. The results suggest that antiviral drugs given orally in a regimen consisting of as few as five doses might be used to treat and contain a future outbreak of smallpox.
Details of the research will be presented today at the International Conference on Antiviral Research in Prague, Czech Republic. The results are also being evaluated by the US Army, which helped to fund the work.
The worlds stocks of variola virus, one held in the US and one in Russia, were saved from destruction last year because of fears about bioterrorism and the lack of a remedy.
It should be impossible for terrorists or rogue states to acquire smallpox, as the laboratories are secure, but it is feared that samples from the Soviet bioweapons programme may have fallen into the hands of states such as Iraq.
The big lie, smallpox was weaponized in 1977 if not before. Big Brother is not your friend. Sleep tight, don't let the politicians bite.
Even if the cultures still alive (freeze dried) in the U.S. and Russia had been destroyed, someone could have resurrected it from the genetic code which was sequenced around 1990.
There will be plagues at the end of the world, and the AntiChrist. When it comes to Big Brother, you ain't seen nothin' yet, and I hope you never do. Hope you're in the Rapture or die painlessly in bed at an old age.
My memory of a small pox vaccination is that some people got ill for a day or two and a unfortuneate few developed extremely serious side effects. I think a few even died.
There was a post on this forum not to far back discussing this point. If I remember correctly, Japan was the last major country using the vaccine. They discovered toward the end that more people were contracting smallpox from the vaccination than those who were contracting it from natural sources and they put and end to their program.
I heard a little of this on the radio just a while ago.