SV40 (fwd)

Giovanni Maga maga at
Fri Mar 17 03:38:57 EST 1995

In article <danielp.8.2F675D74 at>,
danielp at (Daniel, Phil ) wrote:

 SV40 transformed cell lines are usually handled in biohazard hoods to
> risk of exposure. Humans can apparently pick up this virus, but I don't know 
> of any proven disease associations. 
> An article in New Scientist (21 may 1994, page 4) mentions SV40 as a 
> contaminant in early polio vaccines (1954-1963) administered to millions of 
> people. The article goes on to discuss how a mystery virus found in 
> mesothelioma cells (asbestosis related lung cancer) appears to be SV40. I 
> would be interested to learn of any further work in this area, or other 
> disease associations of SV40.

Actually, there is no proven risk for humans to get infected by SV40. That
story about vaccines is true (it has been already discussed in middle 70's
I guess), but all the following studies failed to show an higher
cancer-risk in vaccinated people (although someone was doubtful about those
studies). As far as it is known, SV40 infects in vivo only monkeys and
causes a sever neuropathy called PML (the whole name is quite long
:peripheral multifocal leukoencephalitis, but I'm also not sure about the
spelling) which is present also in humans, but is caused by another
papovavirus called JC, which is human-specific. There are claims for
another PML-associated virus which is called SV40-PML, being more similar
to SV40 than JC, but it is still unclear what it is. I will read that paper
on NS, for sure.
Regards. maga at

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