Research news: April 2009
Fear of bioterrorism has prompted the Japanese armed forces to look for a safe and effective vaccine against smallpox. The most likely candidate so far is the live attenuated vaccine LC16m8, which was given to more than 100 000 Japanese infants in the early 1970s.
Recent tests in Japanese participants of the United Nations peacekeeping operations also look promising. A single intradermal dose produced a visible skin reaction in 94.4% (1443/1529) of those not vaccinated as children and 86.6% (1465/1692) of those that were. The skin reaction to smallpox vaccine is one measure of the immune response. These authors also measured antibody titres in a smaller subsample. The vaccine was immunogenic in 37 of 41 vaccinia naive adults and in 93 of 155 previously vaccinated adults. The only serious side effects within 30 days were one case of allergic dermatitis and another of erythema multiforme. Ninety six of the