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July 5, 1985

Hepatitis B Vaccination and AIDS

Author Affiliations

Tokai University School of Medicine Isehara, Japan
Nippon Merck-Banyu Co, Ltd Tokyo

JAMA. 1985;254(1):53. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360010059008

To the Editor.—  Articles about the relationship between hepatitis B vaccination and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)/human T-cell leukemia (lymphotropic) virus type III infection have often appeared in The Journal. In LEADS FROM THE MMWR in the Jan 4, 1985, issue,1 evidence confirming the absence of AIDS transmission by this hepatitis B vaccine was stated to be the following: (1) The AIDS virus is specifically inactivated by the inactivation procedures used in the vaccine's manufacture. (2) The vaccine contains no detectable AIDS virus nucleic acid sequence. (3) The serologic markers of infection with AIDS virus are not observed in vaccine recipients.

Study.—  In Japan, we studied Merck's Heptavax-B (lot 2374) in 74 health care workers who had no history of hepatitis B infection and determined, in addition to the safety and antigenic potential of the vaccine, the percentage of T-cell and B-cell subsets (OKT3, OKT4, and OKT8), the OKT4/OKT8 ratio,