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Medical News & Perspectives
April 21, 2004

New Smallpox Vaccine Shows Promise

JAMA. 2004;291(15):1825. doi:10.1001/jama.291.15.1825

The potential threat of a biological attack has spurred efforts to develop a safer smallpox vaccine, and now researchers may have found a promising candidate.

While the currently licensed vaccine—live vaccinia virus—can cause serious adverse effects in immunocompromised individuals, an attenuated strain has been recently shown to be both safe and effective in two animal models. A safer smallpox vaccine would be a welcome advance for the millions of individuals in the United States who could be harmed if they took the current vaccine.