THE VIRUS AND THE VACCINE: The True Story of a Cancer-Causing Monkey Virus, a Contaminated Vaccine, and the Millions of Americans Exposed

Debbie Bookchin, Author, Jim Schumacher, Author . St. Martin's $25.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-312-27872-4

Journalists Bookchin and Schumacher argue that for nine years, from 1954 to 1963, almost every dose of polio vaccine produced in the world—and the 98 million Americans who received polio vaccinations—was contaminated with a cancer-causing virus from the monkey kidneys used to develop the vaccine. Although the polio vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk virtually ended polio as a threatening disease, the authors detail how "the screening techniques and observation periods that Salk and the vaccine manufacturers employed were not capable of always catching the contaminants." This sordid story spells out how repeated research studies showing that the "SV40" virus was in the vaccine were dismissed by federal health officials, so that "there would be no warning to consumers that the vaccine they and their children were receiving contained a live monkey virus whose effect on humans was entirely unknown." In the second part, the authors contend that even today such organizations as the National Institutes of Health continue to dismiss study results, even though numerous studies have shown that SV40 is capable of causing cancer in humans. The final and most horrific part of the story reports that Lederle Laboratories, the sole oral vaccine supplier in the U.S. from 1977 onward, continued to use monkey kidneys possibly infected by the SV40 virus in its manufacturing process until oral polio vaccine was removed from the market as late as January 2000. This meticulously researched, levelheaded and well-written book should stir up considerable debate. Because the authors never become alarmist, this solid work of investigative reporting carries considerable weight, and deserves to be read by a large audience. Agent, David Black. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/22/2004
Release date: 04/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-4668-4899-3
Paperback - 380 pages - 978-0-312-34272-2
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