Mice given a relatively new cancer drug can survive an otherwise lethal dose of vaccinia virus, a relative of smallpox virus, report scientists supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. The findings, say the investigators, suggest that Gleevec or similar drugs might be useful in preventing adverse side effects of smallpox vaccine. The classic smallpox vaccine is made from live, weakened vaccinia virus and is not recommended for people with compromised immunity, except in emergency situations where they may have been exposed to smallpox virus.
The senior author of the paper, published online this week in the journal Nature Medicine, is Daniel Kalman, Ph.D., of Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.
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