U.S. soldiers are also taking the experimental drug, Larium. According to the article below, "Hundreds of Australian soldiers serving in East Timor were used as guinea pigs by the army in tests of an anti-malaria drug which has psychotic side effects, it was reported today .... soldiers were ordered to take the drug, Larium, by the army as part of tests to observe side effects, which can also include depression and paranoia."
Millions of Australians were given a polio vaccine infected with remnants of a cancer-causing virus. Scientists knew the dangers but released the vaccine anyway.
Guinea pigs in tainted vaccine trials
War on disease ... a pupil at Melbourne's Scotch College receives a Salk vaccine injection in 1956, as did thousands of other children around Australia. A federal agency used babies in orphanages and children's homes to test a new quadruple antigen vaccination that included polio vaccine possibly contaminated with a monkey virus since linked to cancer. Commonwealth Serum Laboratory records show the trials were carried out on babies as young as three months in five institutions between December 1959 and early 1961.
Quadruple antigen, containing Salk polio vaccine, was not publicly released until November 1960. An investigation by the Melbourne Age, reported in the Herald at the weekend, revealed that millions of doses of Salk vaccine produced by the then government-owned CSL between 1956 and 1962 were contaminated with a monkey virus called SV40. Researchers have found traces of the virus in a range of human cancer cells, including mesothelioma lung disease. It is not clear from the CSL records whether polio vaccine used to produce quadruple antigen used in the tests came from contaminated batches.
Millions given infected polio vaccine
A federal government agency knowingly released polio vaccine contaminated with a monkey virus in the 1960s that has since been linked to a range of cancers, including mesothelioma. The virus contaminated at least four batches of vaccine totalling almost three million doses between 1956 and 1962. Two of the batches were released after testing positive to contamination. The other two were released before tests could be done. An unknown number of earlier batches were also almost certainly contaminated. An investigation by The Age has found documents from the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories which reveal bosses there released one batch of about 700,000 doses of contaminated vaccine in 1962 on the grounds that "much vaccine issued in the past was probably similarly contaminated".
Australia's leading experts on the virus, which is known as simian virus 40 or SV40, have found traces of it in human tumour cells and are calling for urgent funding to clarify the links.
Cancer linked to polio vaccine used in the 50s and 60s
Now to new claims this morning linking the deadly cancer mesothelioma to a commercial organisation. But in this case it's not James Hardie that's under the spotlight, but the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories. An investigation by the Age Newspaper has revealed that millions of batches of polio vaccine used in Australia in the 1950s and 60s were contaminated with the monkey virus SV40. The virus has an as yet undetermined link with mesiothelioma. It is present in the cancerous cells, but no one yet knows if it's a cause, a contributor, or simply a passenger. Australia has the highest incidence of mesothelioma in the world. As Rafael Epstein reports, the now privatised Commonwealth Serum Laboratories continued to release some of the tainted batches, even after the contamination was uncovered. RAFAEL EPSTEIN: It's been known for nearly a decade that large batches of the polio vaccine used in the US, Russia and Europe in the 50s, 60s and 70s were contaminated with this particular monkey virus. But today's Age and Sydney Morning Herald newspapers reveal four batches of contaminated vaccine were released in Australia as well, in the 50s and the 1960s. Each batch contains 700,000 doses of the vaccine.So what does that mean for the hundreds and thousands of people, or perhaps millions who might have had a contaminated dose, as part of their three course vaccination? The SV40 monkey virus has been found in the cancerous cells of mesothelioma patients, but the link is unclear.
Professor Bruce Robinson is head of the mesothelioma research unit at Perth's Charles Gardner Hospital.
Infected vaccine put a generation 'at risk'
A federal government agency knowingly released polio vaccine contaminated with a monkey virus in the 1960s that has since been linked to cancers, including mesothelioma. An investigation by The Age found that at least four batches of vaccine - almost 3 million doses - were contaminated with the virus between 1956 and 1962. Two of those batches were released after testing positive to contamination. The other two had been released by the time tests were carried out. An unknown number of earlier batches were also almost certainly contaminated.
Documents from the then government-owned Commonwealth Serum Laboratories show that it decided to release one batch of about 700,000 doses of contaminated vaccine in 1962 on the grounds that "much vaccine issued in the past was probably similarly contaminated".
Australian researchers have found traces of the virus, Simian Virus 40 or SV40, in human tumour cells and are calling urgently for funding of further studies to clarify the links.
Top Stories - October 25th, 2004