News of the WeekPUBLIC HEALTH

Creeping Consensus on SV40 and Polio Vaccine

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Science  25 Oct 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5594, pp. 725-727
DOI: 10.1126/science.298.5594.725b

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Summary

Since a virus was discovered in the monkey kidney extracts used to make the Salk vaccine some 40 years ago, concern has risen that the vaccine might have triggered an epidemic of cancer. Now, the U.S. Institute of Medicine has allayed most--but not all--of those fears. The virus, known as SV40, has not caused a wave of cancer, the panel concluded, but it might be causing some rare cancers.