Individual Genes Alter Effectiveness of Smallpox Vaccine



New research suggests that individual genes can affect the response of the smallpox vaccine, not the quality of the vaccination. The study involved 44 participants from the Mayo Clinic and the Naval Health Research Center who had received the vaccine in the previous 48 months. The researchers, whose findings are published in Genes and Immunity, detected genetic differences between people with robust protective antibodies and those with lower immunity from smallpox. “We were looking into the intercellular reactions that occur when vaccinated and unvaccinated persons are exposed to and infected with smallpox virus,” said senior author Dr. Gregory Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group. “We were able to use blood samples taken directly from vaccinated patients.”

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