Re: BIOTERRORISM: possibly missing smallpox samples?

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Sat Oct 20 2001 - 08:33:47 MDT

Mike wrote:

> Just immunize everybody who isn't HIV positive that wants it, and test
> people for the allergy before you vaccinate.

It isn't as simple as that. First giving everybody tests as to whether
they are allergic isn't going to be cheap. Even at $10/test that looks
to be ~$3 billion. I suspect the cost would be more like $50-100.
Secondly, testing for allergies isn't foolproof. Some people may
still have negative reactions to being vaccinated. Because everyone
has their own MHC allele combination (6 genes with perhaps several
hundred varients per gene) and probably additional polymorphisms
in the several hundred cytokine signaling molecules and their
receptors immune response to various substances is highly

It probably would be worth allowing adults who want to accept the
risks to be vaccinated at their own cost (after having demonstrated
that they are aware of the risks). The government should also
consider offering free vaccinations to any essential people,
particularly those in medical fields. That way at least they
don't become infected and become the "Typhoid Marys" of an


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