Can a new history of vaccination silence doubters?
来源：未知 作者：闵棵 时间：2019-03-03 02:19:01
BSIP/UIG via Getty Images By Sheena Cruickshank EVERY year, millions of children and adults are vaccinated against diseases that only a few decades ago were terrifying and deadly, including rubella, polio and measles. Meredith Wadman’s meticulously researched book begins with the heart-rending account of a baby girl born in 1964 who survived just 16 months before succumbing to the effects of maternally transmitted rubella. She spent only nine days of her life outside hospital. The fear and horror these diseases cause is a fading memory, and despite the fact that vaccines work, the sceptics are gaining ground, their claims given credence by a handful of Hollywood stars and now by US president Donald Trump. Vaccination is based on the principle, developed by Edward Jenner in 1796, whereby the body’s immune system, inoculated with a killed or weakened pathogen, naturally creates a protective response to the disease. As well as describing the science, Wadman explores the motives of those involved in the vaccination story, particularly Leonard Hayflick, whose vision of a safer route to vaccination led to a long-running dispute. Though many early vaccines worked well, side effects were always a concern, sometimes because the virus was still infectious, sometimes because proteins were present that triggered severe immune reactions. Many vaccines were tested, without consent, on prisoners, orphans and even newborn babies. Early vaccines also used cells from other animals. Often the dead or weakened viruses were grown in monkey cells as these, it was wrongly assumed, contained no transmissible infections. Cell lines from human tumours did exist, but were considered unsafe: what if cancerous cells were transferred along with the vaccine? Wadman describes the scandalous cover-up following the discovery that monkey cells used in vaccinations were infected with a virus, SV40, that could infect humans. Intervention from wealthy non-scientists such as the philanthropist Mary Lasker drove even deeper investment into animal-based vaccines despite growing evidence of their lack of safety and efficacy. Step forward Hayflick. Based at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, he was a gifted young scientist who reasoned that fetal cells derived from a normal pregnancy would be a virus-free and safe alternative for vaccine development. In 1962, he obtained tissue from an aborted fetus, grew the lung cells and created a new cell line, WI-38. “Many early vaccines worked well, but sometimes the virus was still infectious” In 1968, Hayflick discovered that the institute’s director had filed a patent for the WI-38 cells to be used in a rabies vaccine, but that he wasn’t named on the patent. Infuriated, Hayflick left the Wistar, taking all the WI-38 cells with him. As he battled to get the cells licensed and his colleagues recognised for their work, he hid the cells in his garage. Much has changed. Many modern vaccines use only those parts of the pathogen that stimulate the immune response, so there is no chance of infection. Still, the history of vaccines is not a romantic tale. It’s a success story for grown-ups. Detailed and discursive, The Vaccine Race isn’t an easy read. But among its detailed descriptions of cell preparation, discursive descriptions of the issues around abortion, and the story of the discovery that normal cells have a finite lifespan, there is plenty of ammunition for those arguing with family or Facebook friends who have swallowed the conspiracy theories of the anti-vaccination community. The Vaccine Race: How scientists used human cells to combat killer viruses Meredith Wadman Doubleday This article appeared in print under the headline “In place of disease, unease” More on these topics: