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Animal viruses and human tumours

Humans can contract cancer through infection with viruses from animals. Specialists from the Blokhin Russian Oncological Research Centre RAMS have spent 15 years studying viruses in mammals that are oncogenic for humans.


House mice and monkeys can be the source of infection. The SV40 green monkey virus was detected in 40-70% of the mesotheliomas in residents of the USA and Western Europe. The SRV group of monkey retroviruses and antibodies to them are found in patients with cancer of the larynx and in children aged 3-14 with various forms of lymphomas. Almost a half of the residents of Guinea-Bissau are infected with SRV viruses, yet they suffer no illness. Clearly humans can easily become infected with the monkey virus through direct contact with the creatures, but Europeans and Americans rarely encounter monkeys. It is most likely that the reason for their infection lies in vaccination. In the period 1957-1963, during the poliomyelitis pandemic, up to 100 million people, mostly children, were administered a vaccine based on a weakened virus, cultivated on a culture of the kidney of green monkeys. The cells were polluted with many outside viruses, including SV40 and SRV. It is not by chance that in those countries that stopped the application of this vaccine (in Sweden for example), the frequency of SV40 cases fell by a factor of 10. Different versions of SRV continue to circulate without symptoms in the human population and they sometimes bring about lymphomas in children of those parents who were administered the polluted vaccine 45-50 years ago. The researchers assume that it is humans with a weakened immune system that come down with cancer.

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