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Claim that smallpox vaccine protects against HIV is premature, say critics

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 25 September 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:699
  1. Jeanne Lenzer
  1. New York

    A claim that the smallpox vaccine confers protection against HIV has led to a dispute between researchers at George Mason University, Virginia, and the George Washington University, Washington, DC.

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    Professor Alibek is offended by claims that his research could be tainted by conflicts of interes


    George Mason University issued a press release on 11 September announcing the results of a preliminary study. Its researchers were led by Ken Alibek, the former director of the secret anti-Soviet biowarfare programme, Biopreparat.

    Professor Alibek said test tube experiments using the blood of 10 marines who had recently been vaccinated against smallpox showed that peripheral blood mononuclear cells resisted infection by HIV “significantly better” than did such cells …

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