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19 Apr 2013

Individual genes impact on effectiveness of smallpox vaccination

Research finds effectiveness of smallpox vaccine is down to genes.

A person's individual genetic make-up appears to dictate their response to the smallpox vaccination and how effective it is for them.
That is according to research from the Mayo Clinic, which found the quality of the vaccination is not the only important factor to consider when examining its effectiveness.
Researchers used sophisticated genomic screening for the findings, with some 44 participants who had received the smallpox vaccine in the previous 48 months involved in the study.
Two samples were prepared from each candidate: one that was uninfected and the second that was infected with a smallpox-like virus - vaccinia.
Genetic differences were found between people with greater immunity from smallpox and those with less protective antibodies.
Director of the Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group Dr Gregory Poland explained how this development could pave the way for new vaccines to benefit non-responders.
Smallpox, which results in about one in three fatalities, was declared eradicated worldwide in 1980 but still poses a threat in biological warfare.

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