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The Smallpox Vaccine:

An Ideal Vehicle for Covert Vaccine Research on Human Subjects

By Jerry Leonard



“Upwards of six thousand persons have now been inoculated with the virus of cow-pox, and the far greater part of them have since been inoculated with that of smallpox, and exposed to its infection in every rational way that could be devised, without effect.”


Edward Jenner, 1798




Grotesquely unethical experiments in vaccine research are nothing new. They have a long and sordid history. In this essay I review Edward Jenner's pioneering methods for creating a model infection of smallpox in human subjects through person-to-person smallpox "transplants" as a means of developing and testing his cow-pox vaccines against the deadly disease.[1] In other works, I have proposed that the cancer epidemic induced by AIDS was deliberately caused by cancer researchers following in Jenner's footsteps, in this case creating a model infection of viral cancer in humans (and model forms of immune system defects suspected of increasing viral cancer susceptibility) so that cancer vaccines could be developed and tested.[2]  Cancer researchers not only used Jenner's "vaccine/challenge" method for human cancer vaccine research, they apparently used a vaccine based on the same virus (vaccinia) that Jenner used in a component of this research–with catastrophic results.[3] Modern developments in genetic engineering coupled with recent political developments enabling unethical social engineering make an understanding of Jenner’s methods and the experimentation now possible with his virus even more vital for the health of the international public--lest ongoing attempts at manipulating and attacking the social immune system (e.g. the assault on medical ethics) facilitate the continued attack on the human immune system through ongoing and covert vaccine experimentation.




            Several researchers have linked the international outbreak of HIV with the global smallpox vaccination program overseen by the World Health Organization. The author has proposed that this smallpox vaccination program was deliberately used to conduct a covert human cancer experiment with immunosuppressive viruses designed to aid in the development of human cancer vaccines.[4]

Such a cancer vaccine experiment would represent the culmination of a long-running set of parallel experiments by the cancer research establishment toward that end: one set involved exploiting immune system damage to cause cancer in human subjects with “transplantable tumors” and monkey viruses; the other involved inducing controlled immune system damage using “immunosuppressive” viruses in animals to facilitate cancer transplantability.

The author believes the documented modification of these animal immunosuppressive viruses for growth in human cells[5] was used to merge the lines of human and animal cancer transplant experimentation. By replicating these animal experiments in human populations, researchers would be able to create a long-sought model of viral cancer in humans that would be highly useful for cancer vaccine research. Such a model has been provided by the highly beneficial cancer epidemic caused by AIDS.[6]

Dangerous human experiments with immunosuppressive viruses of the type used for years in animal experiments would of course have to be conducted covertly. As it turns out, the vaccinia virus used in the smallpox vaccine that has been linked to AIDS not only has a long history of abuse in dangerous human experiments, it is a virus ideally suited for conducting unethical and covert experimentation today.

As will be discussed below, the vaccinia virus used to induce immunity against smallpox is a very convenient virus for conducting covert experiments because it can be modified to deliver multiple viruses to a biological organism.[7]

The recent push to vaccinate the entire American public against smallpox with vaccinia virus makes it extremely important for the public to understand that dangerous vaccine experiments against diseases other than smallpox could be covertly conducted with vaccines containing this virus.





            The vaccinia virus used in the international smallpox vaccine has unique properties that make it an especially effective tool for use in experiments, covert or overt, that require the delivery of multiple viruses to a biological organism. The fact that DNA recombination is a natural byproduct of poxvirus replication (vaccinia is a poxvirus) makes it practical to incorporate “foreign” viral genes in the vaccinia genome.[8] Importantly, these foreign viruses can be integrated in the host genome such that they can mimic natural infection with the “passenger” viruses when the “recombinant” virus is injected in a host organism. Additionally, the vaccinia virus is so large that the genomes of dozens of viruses of average size can be inserted in its nonessential regions for use in this manner.[9] Finally, the wide host-range of the vaccinia virus makes the novel characteristics of the virus useful for application in numerous species, including humans.

These convenient properties combine to make the vaccinia virus a viral “delivery vehicle” that can be exploited for fascinating applications ranging from human vaccine research to biological warfare.[10]



Vaccinia and Vaccine Research


            In the development of a vaccine against a given virus, scientists typically develop a modified (or attenuated) form of the virus that can mimic natural infection without actually causing disease.[11] Although the resulting infection due to the attenuated virus is milder, it is capable of eliciting an immune response that will provide long-term immunity[12] against the natural form of the virus.

Another way to vaccinate against a dangerous virus is to find a similar virus already existing in nature which results in a harmless infection but which elicits an immune response capable of defeating the dangerous form of the virus. The vaccinia virus (a form of cowpox) is such a virus that produces a “mild” infection in humans but which also stimulates an immune response that protects against smallpox (caused by the variola virus)—one of the most deadly diseases known to man.[13] Early vaccines against smallpox using vaccinia were developed after it was noticed that persons who had been naturally exposed to cowpox viruses exhibited immunity to smallpox.

            Since genetically engineered vaccinia virus can deliver numerous “passenger” viruses in a manner that mimics natural infection, it can be used as a delivery vehicle for vaccines against diseases other than smallpox. Indeed, according to the patent literature, vaccines delivered by vaccinia virus have numerous advantages over other forms of vaccines with live or killed viruses.[14]

The process of creating vaccines by inserting genes from “attenuated” or modified viruses into the vaccinia virus genome is being actively exploited by medical researchers. Genes from viruses such as hepatitis B,[15] herpes simplex,[16] influenza,[17] and rabies[18] have been inserted into the vaccinia genome (which is used as a carrier) to form vaccinia-based vaccines against diseases caused by these viruses.

            The tremendous carrying capacity of the vaccinia virus allows the process described above to be exploited to create single vaccines capable of inducing immunity to multiple viruses (these are sometimes referred to as “polyvalent” vaccines). This is accomplished by inserting genes from several vaccine viruses into the vaccinia virus genome so they are able to mimic natural infection and thereby elicit an immune response that provides long-term immunity from naturally occurring versions of the inserted viruses.

            The feasibility of such polyvalent vaccines has recently been demonstrated for an experimental vaccinia vaccine capable of simultaneously inducing immunity to hepatitis B, herpes simplex, and influenza in rabbits.[19] Researchers are hoping to extend these results to diseases infecting humans so that one day a single vaccine to many different viruses could be given to young children instead of the traditional battery of vaccines given currently.



Vaccinia and Unethical Vaccine Research


            The same property that allows vaccinia virus to deliver proven vaccine viruses offers the possibility of exploitation early in the research process typically used to test such vaccine viruses.

Before vaccines are used in human populations, they must be shown to be capable of preventing disease without causing harm. One way of demonstrating the effectiveness of vaccines is to inject the experimental vaccine into test subjects followed by “challenging” the subjects with injections of the disease to be protected against. If subjects who are given the vaccine are protected against the injected disease, while those not given the vaccine fall prey to the disease, then the vaccine has the potential to be used in human applications.

            The reputed “inventor” of the smallpox vaccine, Edward Jenner, used this “vaccination-challenge” procedure in an unethical and dangerous way. He first injected human subjects with his experimental smallpox vaccine. (In this case he used the cowpox or vaccinia virus.) He then demonstrated the protective ability of the vaccine virus by challenging both vaccinated and unvaccinated human subjects with the deadly smallpox (variola) virus! Those who had been vaccinated with cowpox were protected from smallpox injections. Those who were not vaccinated contracted smallpox.

Jenner described the procedure he used to inject a boy with smallpox virus (variola) to test the effectiveness of his cowpox vaccine:


In order to ascertain whether the boy, after feeling so slight an affection of the system from the cow-pox virus, was secure from the contagion of the smallpox, he was inoculated the 1st of July following with variolous matter, immediately taken from a pustule. Several slight punctures and incisions were made on both his arms, and the matter [smallpox] was carefully inserted, but no disease followed. …Several months afterwards he was again inoculated with variolous matter, but no sensible effect was produced on the constitution.[20]


Despite his grotesquely unethical procedure of injecting vaccinated and unvaccinated children with the deadly smallpox virus, [21] over time Edward Jenner came to be viewed as a hero for his dangerous vaccine experiments using humans as guinea pigs. One author summarized, “With hindsight, Jenner’s experiment appears to be the audacious and pioneering act of a visionary. However, at the time it was viewed with the scepticism and horror that would confront a modern-day attempt to inoculate a healthy child with HIV-infected tissue.”[22]


Fortunately dangerous experiments like those conducted by Jenner cannot be conducted overtly today.[23] However, the virus that Jenner used in his smallpox vaccine—vaccinia—can itself be used with other viruses to covertly replicate his procedure. All that is required to conduct such experiments with experimental vaccines and/or challenging viruses is to exploit the properties of the vaccinia virus that make it useful for polyvalent vaccines.[24]

Vaccines requiring the traditional use of vaccinia can be used to conduct such covert human experiments on the public. For example, campaigns against smallpox outbreaks due to terrorists are being used to justify massive smallpox vaccination campaigns with vaccinia virus. Since these vaccinations would already employ the vaccinia virus, the vaccines could simply be augmented with modified vaccinia viruses containing the experimental viruses to be covertly tested on the public.

            The use of such “modified” vaccinia-based vaccines would be a powerful research tool. Smallpox vaccines could be modified to include experimental vaccine viruses against a disease other than smallpox or they could contain a “challenging” virus against a previously administered vaccine.[25]

If the latency period of the infections caused by vaccinia-delivered viruses can be controlled, more sophisticated experiments using vaccines might be carried out. For example, vaccinia-based vaccines could conceivably contain an experimental vaccine as well as the challenging virus to determine the vaccine’s efficacy. This would allow Jenner’s vaccine-challenge experiments to be carried out with a single injection. For such an experiment to work properly, the infection due to the vaccine virus would have to be timed to take place before the infection due to the challenging virus. If this could be accomplished, Jenner’s experiment involving injections of vaccine virus followed by injections of a challenging virus might be replicated covertly in a single injection—coincidentally, using the virus he used for his experimental vaccine.

In addition to allowing such vaccine experiments to take place, control over the incubation times of the injected viruses would provide other benefits. For example, if the infection due to a vaccine “additive” could be delayed, the disease induced by the passenger virus in the vaccine could not then be correlated with the administration of the vaccine that caused it. This would obviously provide benefits for covert experimentation.[26]

            A second Gulf War or measures against terrorism could make such a scenario for unethical experimentation a reality if such measures are used to justify massive smallpox vaccine inoculations. Since traditional vaccinia vaccines are unlikely to prevent the disease induced by any version of smallpox engineered for biological warfare, and since naturally occurring forms of smallpox have supposedly been eliminated, it seems more likely that vaccination campaigns with vaccinia are better suited for public experimentation than public protection. In fact, antiterrorism has given a new life to the use of vaccinia in public vaccines[27] just at a time when recombinant vaccinia vaccines against numerous diseases other than smallpox have been developed and are ready to be tested.[28]

Thus the war against terrorism has created a scenario for using an agent optimized for covert experimentation under conditions perfect for covert experimentation. The precedent for unethical experimentation under similar conditions in the past (Gulf War I) combined with the advanced legal protection for experimentation already granted to medical institutions in preparation for Gulf War II[29] make the current situation seem ripe for abuse.[30]

What vaccines might be tested under such a scenario? This author and others have documented the use of vaccines in Gulf War I to conduct covert experiments against HIV. If this type of experimentation is repeated, Gulf War II may be used to test versions of vaccinia-based HIV vaccines that have been developed.[31] Vaccinia-based vaccines against the cancers caused by HIV have also been developed and may be used in such vaccine experiments. Vaccinia-based vaccines against other forms of human cancer have already been tested. For example, four different human melanoma cell lines were used in one vaccinia-based vaccine trial.[32] Vaccinia-based vaccines using viruses (such as human papilloma virus) thought to be a cause of human cancer are also being developed for human trials and are candidates for covert human testing.[33]



Vaccinia and Immunosuppressive Research


            It has been shown that, in addition to serving as a delivery platform for multiple vaccine viruses, vaccinia could be used earlier in the vaccine research process to deliver combinations of vaccine and challenging viruses. However, the same properties that would allow the vaccinia virus to deliver multiple viruses to an organism to induce and verify immunocompetence (through vaccination and challenge) might also be used even earlier in the vaccine research process. For example, vaccinia could be used to aid the powerful component of vaccine experimentation that exploits immune system damage (or immunosuppression) to identify promising avenues of research.


An Overview of Immunosuppressive Research

            The creation and exploitation of immunosuppression has played a very useful role in vaccine research. For example, by watching how diseases are induced in subjects with controllably damaged immune systems, scientists can identify which components of the immune system need to be boosted to provide immunity against disease. This information, in turn, provides scientists with clues as to which viruses or other treatments might be more fruitfully explored in subsequent vaccine experiments designed to “jump-start” the immune response to viruses.

The deliberate creation of immunosuppression was used extensively in viral cancer vaccine research.

The methodology scientists used to induce and exploit immunosuppression in animal cancer vaccine research has been discussed at length elsewhere.[34] Basically the process consisted of administering an immunosuppressive treatment (typically viruses, radiation, or drugs) to experimental animals followed by “challenging” the immunosuppressed animal subjects with various viruses. By measuring how cancer grew in immunosuppressed subjects, researchers were able to determine how the different types of immune system damage induced for the experiment influenced the effect of the challenging virus on the host.[35] Scientists could then begin searching for viruses or other treatments that would compensate for this immune system damage.[36]

            In one particular application of this type of “immunosuppression/challenge” experiment involving mouse cancers, injections of murine leukemia and sarcoma viruses were used. The murine leukemia viruses were injected to induce immunosuppression as a means of increasing susceptibility to the injections of murine sarcoma viruses as challenge viruses.[37] By monitoring the cancer growth resulting from deliberate immune system damage, researchers determined what types of immune stimulation might prevent cancer growth. This, in turn, provided researchers with enough information about the immune response to cancer viruses to create vaccines (consisting of modified versions of the cancer viruses under study) to certain forms of murine cancer viruses.[38]

            The vaccine/challenge process described above could then be used to test the effectiveness of vaccines developed in this destructive process. For example, modified or attenuated cancer viruses developed to stimulate the immune system response to cancer could be injected in test subjects. The usefulness of these vaccines could then be evaluated by injecting vaccinated subjects with challenging viruses.

            Thus cancer researchers invented a sophisticated system for developing and testing vaccines to viruses they suspected of causing cancer. This system used immunosuppressive viruses, vaccine viruses, and challenging viruses. Using the array of viruses they invented, they could first inject test subjects with immunosuppressive viruses in combination with “challenging” cancer viruses. This would help to determine which immune system components appeared to control cancer growth. Using this knowledge, they could formulate vaccines designed to stimulate these components of the immune system. Then they could inject experimental cancer vaccines (in some cases, modified versions of the cancer viruses) in combination with challenging viruses to determine the effectiveness of the vaccines. [39]



The Usefulness of Vaccinia for Covert Immunosuppressive Research

            The characteristics of the vaccinia virus that allow it to deliver experimental viruses and vaccines would also make it suitable for use in immunosuppressive cancer experimentation. For example, immunosuppressive viruses might be integrated within the vaccinia genome and delivered to an experimental organism. Once the immunosuppressive virus took effect, researchers could study the infection of the challenging viruses on the immunosuppressed subject. (The challenging viruses could also be introduced through separate injections of vaccinia virus containing “passenger” viruses.)

In even more sophisticated applications of this procedure, mixtures of immunosuppressive and cancer viruses might be simultaneously delivered through the vaccinia virus in the same way that multiple vaccine viruses or vaccine and challenge viruses could be delivered as proposed above. This method of using the vaccinia virus to deliver both an immunosupppressive and challenge virus could replace the necessity for separate injections in immunosuppressive experiments such as those that were conducted in mice.[40]

            Once enough was learned about the immune system reaction to cancer viruses through this immunosuppressive process, a genetically engineered version of the original cancer-causing virus might be devised that would be capable of inducing immunity by stimulating the identified immune system components. The vaccinia virus might then also serve as a delivery vehicle for this modified version of the cancer virus in the form of a vaccine.[41] Additionally vaccinia might then be used as described previously to deliver challenging viruses to determine the efficacy of the vaccines. (A vaccine against the immunosuppressive virus itself might even be devised and delivered via a vaccinia virus.[42])



Use of a Vaccinia Hybrid for a Two-Part Immunosuppressive Experiment


            In the most sophisticated form of a vaccine/challenge experiment, immunosuppressive and cancer agents might be combined in a vaccinia-based vaccine. Once the immunosuppressive viruses took effect, the cancer rates due to the cancer viruses could be measured. (Rates before and after the immunosuppressive viruses took effect could be compared to determine the role of immunosuppression in cancer development.)

            In a simpler form, immunosuppressive viruses and challenging cancer viruses could be delivered in separate injections. Vaccinia might prove useful for administering these viruses covertly, under the pretext of vaccination. This would allow a two-part immunosuppressive experiment to be carried out under the pretext of separate vaccinations.

            In other works by the author, it was proposed that the AIDS epidemic is the result of human cancer experiments involving deliberate exposure of human subjects to immunosuppressive viruses. The international smallpox vaccination program of the World Health Organization (WHO), which used the vaccinia-based vaccine, was implicated as the vehicle used deliberately to infect human subjects with immunosuppressive viruses.[43]

            One is tempted to hypothesize that an experiment similar to the one proposed above using immunosuppressive and possibly cancer viruses integrated into a vaccinia-based smallpox vaccine was indeed implemented, resulting in the HIV epidemic and the associated epidemic of cancers that is proving so useful to cancer researchers.

            Whether or not vaccinia was used to induce AIDS as described above,[44] vaccinia could be used in subsequent experiments as the second leg of a two-part immunosuppressive experiment. In this leg of the experiment, challenging viruses could be administered to immunosuppressed AIDS-victims using vaccinia-based vaccines containing such viruses. (The diseases resulting from AIDS would create a “natural” demand for such vaccines.)

            The use of vaccinia hybrids in vaccinating HIV patients against secondary infections would provide an ideal pretext for medical researchers to probe the immune systems of immunosuppressed patients with various challenging viruses. Since the vaccinia virus has such an enormous carrying capacity, challenging viruses besides the vaccine virus could be covertly placed in the experimental vaccinia-based vaccines. This would allow researchers to observe how the suppressed immune systems of AIDS patients reacted to various viruses when specific components were impaired or not functioning properly, thus completing the second phase of the proposed two-part experiment described above.[45] Vaccines against the AIDS virus itself could also provide a vehicle for covert injections of challenging viruses. (As mentioned previously, vaccinia-based vaccines against HIV[46] and numerous forms of cancer have been developed and could be used in such experiments. Attempts to use the vaccinia virus against non-AIDS-related cancers and leukemias are already underway.[47],[48])




Vaccinia and Biowarfare


            The properties of vaccinia that make it useful for covertly delivering experimental viruses to human subjects would also make it ideal for use in biological warfare applications. Additionally the same properties that make immunosuppressive viruses useful for cancer research (controlled immune system damage) also make them suitable for biological warfare.[49] The delay effects that would allow vaccinia to be used in combined “vaccine-challenge” studies or “immunosuppressive virus-challenge” studies would also make it useful for biological warfare. (The delayed infection would allow the role of the vaccine in inducing disease to be hidden.) Thus it can be seen that a biological warfare exercise could also double as an immunosuppressive cancer experiment conducted with vaccinia.[50]

Are such scenarios involving vaccinia and biological warfare agents with carefully timed infections realistic?

U.S. development of biological warfare agents with carefully controlled latency periods is not unprecedented. In the 1960s the U.S. made aggressive but unrealized plans to attack Cuba with combinations or “cocktails” of biological incapacitating agents. These cocktails were designed to induce successive diseases with carefully selected incubation periods and durations. The authors of the bestseller Germs wrote that one “special cocktail of two germs and one biological toxin [was] designed to work sequentially so that victims would come down with uncommonly long periods of sickness and debilitation. Exposure to the agents would debilitate Cubans within a few hours and the incapacitation would last up to three weeks. Jets would … spray … key towns, ports, and military bases, moving east to west with the trade winds. Havana, in the west, was to get special attention. The isolated Caribbean island of Cuba was seen as an ideal target for biological warfare.”

Plans were also made to attack Vietnam with the lethal smallpox virus, which seemed like an ideal biological warfare agent because it was not only deadly but had a delayed infectious effect and was naturally occurring. Moreover, U.S. troops had been vaccinated against the virus. “A boomerang effect seemed unlikely, since American troops were routinely vaccinated against the contagious disease. And North Vietnamese troops appeared to be vulnerable. In some ways, the setting was ideal. Though Vietnam had experienced no smallpox outbreaks since 1959, the disease still lurked in neighboring countries, allowing an epidemic to be attributed to natural causes. In the argot of covert operations, the strike would be plausibly deniable, a key requirement.”[51]

The use of smallpox as a biowarfare agent has even made it past the planning stage. American history records the use of smallpox against the native populations of both North and South America with deadly results. (For example, both the British[52] and the Americans gave blankets deliberately infected with smallpox to the indigenous populations of North America.)[53]

            These precedents for biological warfare with “primitive” disease agents such as smallpox are disconcerting in themselves. However, they are even more disturbing when considered in light of recent progress in the field of genetic engineering. This field would open up new avenues of destruction for the military. Indeed, a military journal warned in 1970 that advances in DNA research provided new opportunities for attacking “the functions of life”:


The enzymatic process for RNA production has been known for some years, but now the factors have been revealed which regulate the initiation and specificity of enzyme production. Not only the factors have been found, but their inhibitors. Thus, the functions of life lie bare to attack.[54] [emphasis added]


As has been shown above, genetic engineering of the vaccine virus used against smallpox—vaccinia—in the years following 1960s-era plans to use smallpox itself as a biowarfare weapon would open up new avenues for covert experimentation and biological warfare.





            The properties of vaccinia virus that make it useful for delivering viruses to humans could be exploited to deliver vaccines that are reported to have numerous advantages over traditional vaccines. The ability of vaccinia to deliver multiple viruses covertly might be used in sophisticated “vaccine-challenge” experiments or “immunosuppressive virus-challenge” experiments. Additionally these same properties would allow viruses used as biological warfare agents to be delivered by vaccinia-based vaccines.

            By creating a renewed demand for vaccinia-based vaccines at a time when scientists have exploited the ability of the virus to deliver multiple viruses with a single vaccine, the war on terrorism has opened up new possibilities for overt and covert research and biological warfare.


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[1] Jenner injected combinations of smallpox (variola virus) and smallpox vaccine (vaccinia virus) in thousands of human subjects to directly test the effectiveness of his vaccines. According to Jenner's published claims, those who were not injected with his vaccine contracted the deliberately induced smallpox (how many of these people died?). Those who were injected with experimental vaccines supposedly remained disease-free when challenged with smallpox transplants.

[2] This was the culmination of years of published experiments with person-to-person "cancer transplants" which were followed by incredibly dangerous monkey cancer virus transplants in humans. (The techniques for creating cross-species versions of these viruses and growing them in human cell cultures were published in the medical literature shortly before AIDS and are summarized in an e-book by the author.)

[3] In the case of AIDS, researchers simply extended to human subjects the methods they developed in animal cancer vaccine research--a long-honored tradition in cancer research. The methods and rationale for replicating animal experiments in human cancer vaccine experiments designed to create "immunoproficiency through immunodeficiency" are described in my book AIDS: The "Perfect" Disease, as are the fabulous benefits of the AIDS/Cancer epidemic to cancer vaccine researchers.

[4] Immunosuppressive techniques were used in vaccine research because they aided in understanding how the immune system interacted with cancer viruses. When cancer growth occurred following controlled damage of certain components of the immune system, it provided clues as to which components of the immune system were critical in preventing cancer. This type of research promised to assist scientists seeking to develop cancer vaccines by jump-starting the identified immune system components critical for cancer prevention.

[5] The modification of monkey and cattle immunosuppressive viruses for growth in human cell cultures was published in the open medical research literature shortly before AIDS. See H. Ogura, M. Ocho, T. Tanaka, T. Oda, “Susceptibility of Human Cultured Cells to Mason-Pfizer Monkey Virus,” Gann, vol. 69, June 1978, 413-415; H. Ogura, T. Tanaka, M. Ocho, M. Namba, T. Oda, Y. Yabe, “Fusion of Transformed Human Cells by Simian Retroviruses,” Gann, vol. 71, June 1980, 367-371; J. A. Georgiades, A. Billiau, B. Vanderschueren, “Infection of Human Cell Cultures with Bovine Visna Virus,” J. gen. Virol. (1978), 38, 375-380. For an overview of the technology developed in this research, see How AIDS Was Invented, by Jerry Leonard.

[6] See AIDS: The “Perfect” Disease, by the author.

[7] After providing an overview of the remarkable properties of the vaccinia virus, I present a discussion of how these attributes could be used to conduct an experiment such as the one the author believes led to AIDS.

[8] The resultant viruses are called recombinant viruses. B. Moss, “Vaccinia Virus: A Tool for Research and Vaccine Development,” Science, vol. 252, 21 June 1991, 1662-1667.

[9] Up to 25 kilobases of foreign DNA can be stably incorporated into the vaccinia genome. M. E. Perkus, A. Piccini, B. R. Lipinskas, E. Paoletti, “Recombinant Vaccinia Virus: Immunization Against Multiple Pathogens,” Science, v. 229, 6 September 1985, 983.

[10] It is ironic that the vaccine against smallpox would be so useful for biological warfare since smallpox has a history of being used as a biological warfare agent. Judith Miller writes, “Smallpox has long been a germ of choice among biowarriors. In the 15th century, Pizarro is reported to have presented South American natives with variola-contaminated clothing. The English apparently did the same during the French and Indian War in 1754-67. According to [an article published in the August 1997 Journal of the American Medical Association], Sir Jeffrey Amherst, commander of the British forces in North America, suggested that smallpox be used to reduce American Indian tribes hostile to Britain, and on June 24, 1763, Captain Ecuyer, one of Amherst’s aides, gave blankets and a handkerchief from the smallpox hospital to the Indians. ‘I hope it will have the desired effect,’ he noted in his journal.” Judith Miller, “Biological Weapons, Literally Older Than Methuselah,” New York Times, 19 September 1998.

[11] Harmless versions of dangerous viruses are sometimes created by taking a virus which is harmful in its natural form and passaging it through various tissue cultures to modify, or “attenuate,” the virus. This can allow the virus to be injected into a subject so as to cause a suitable immune reaction (which will be sufficient to allow the body to confront natural infections with the real virus) without causing a harmful infection. This process was used in the polio vaccine program. In this case polio viruses were passaged through monkey tissue cultures until “attenuated” strains of the vaccine were obtained. These strains, after being injected into human subjects, were capable of “priming” the immune system to attack the real virus, yet were mild enough not to cause the symptoms generally associated with polio (for example, paralysis). Unfortunately, by passaging polio viruses through monkey tissue cultures, researchers contaminated the vaccines with monkey cancer viruses which were then injected into vaccine recipients by the tens of millions. Some vaccine manufacturers refused to screen the vaccines even after this tragedy was made public. Lawsuits are only now beginning to be filed in response to the expected, delayed effects of these contaminating viruses.

[12] This happens due to a phenomenon known as “adaptive immunity,” which allows the body to develop immunologic memory. This allows the immune system to respond quickly and efficiently through the reactivation of immune system cells when microbes similar to those which have been the source of previous infection enter the body. See C. A. Janeway Jr., “How the Immune System Recognizes Invaders,” Scientific American, September 1993, 73-79.

[13] According to the authors of Germs, “Health authorities estimated that it [smallpox] had killed more people over the ages than any other infectious disease. In the twentieth century alone, it was estimated to have killed a half billion people—more than all the wars and epidemics combined, including the great flu pandemic of 1918-19.” Judith Miller, Stephen Engelberg, William Broad, Germs, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002), 58.

[14] The authors of an early patent relating to vaccinia-based vaccines claim that these vaccines offer benefits in efficiency and safety: “Suitably modified vaccinia mutants carrying exogenous genes … avoid the drawbacks of conventional vaccines employing killed or attenuated live organisms. Thus, for instance, the production of vaccines from killed organisms requires the growth of large quantities of the organisms followed by a treatment which will selectively destroy their infectivity without affecting their antigenicity. On the other hand, vaccines containing attenuated live organisms always present the possibility of a reversion of the attenuated organism to a pathogenic state. In contrast, when a modified vaccinia mutant suitably modified with a gene coding for an antigenic determinant of a disease-producing organism is used as a vaccine, the possibility of reversion to a pathogenic organism is avoided since the vaccinia virus contains only the gene coding for the antigenic determinant of the disease producing organism and not those genetic portions of the organism responsible for the replication of the pathogen.” [emphasis added] Paoletti, Enzo, Panicali, Dennis, United States Patent #4,603,112, “Modified vaccinia virus,” 29 July 1986.

[15] E. Paoletti, B. Lipinskas, C. Samsonoff, S. Mercer, D. Panicali, “Construction of Live Vaccines by Using Genetically Engineered Poxviruses: Biological Activity of Recombinant Vaccinia Virus Recombinants Expressing the Hepatitis B Virus Surface Antigen and the Herpes Simplex Virus Glycoprotein D,” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, vol. 81, January 1984, 193-197.

[16] Ibid.

[17] D. Panicali, S. W. Davis, R. L. Weinberg, E. Paoletti, “Construction of Live Vaccines by Using Genetically Engineered Poxviruses: Biological Activity of Recombinant Vaccinia Virus Expressing Influenza Virus Hemagglutinin,” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, vol. 80, September 1983, 5364-5368.

[18] Perkus, et al, “Recombinant Vaccinia Virus,” 981.

[19] Ibid., 981-984.

[20] Edward Jenner, An Inquiry Into the Causes and Effects of the Variolæ Vaccinæ, Or Cow-Pox, 1798; Edward Jenner, A Continuation of Facts and Observations Relative to the Variolæ Vaccinæ, or Cow-Pox, 1800.

[21] In order to verify that his cowpox-vaccinated subjects were surviving genuine smallpox, Jenner injected unvaccinated subjects (controls) with smallpox and observed that the deadly disease was indeed induced: “To convince myself that the variolous matter made use of was in a perfect state I at the same time inoculated a patient with some of it who never had gone through the cow-pox, and it produced the smallpox in the usual regular manner.” Jenner then expanded the use of this procedure in which human subjects were infected with cowpox and challenged with smallpox: “Upwards of six thousand persons have now been inoculated with the virus of cow-pox, and the far greater part of them have since been inoculated with that of smallpox, and exposed to its infection in every rational way that could be devised, without effect.” Edward Jenner, An Inquiry Into the Causes and Effects of the Variolæ Vaccinæ, Or Cow-Pox, 1798; Edward Jenner, A Continuation of Facts and Observations Relative to the Variolæ Vaccinæ, or Cow-Pox, 1800.

[22] Robert Brines, Immunology Today, vol. 17, no. 5, May 1996, 203, 204.

[23] The Nazis duplicated this procedure in their concentration camp vaccine experiments. According to the Nuremberg Tribunal records, concentration camp inmates were deliberately infected with diseases (or challenging viruses) to measure the effectiveness of vaccines and chemical treatments administered to prevent disease. Unvaccinated inmates were also callously infected with the disease under study so that they could be used as “controls” to calibrate the efficacy of the experimental vaccine. The tribunal records describe one such set of experiments with spotted fever or typhus: “In the course of these experiments 75 percent of the selected number of inmates were vaccinated with one of the vaccines or nourished with one of the chemical substances and, after a period of 3 to 4 weeks, were infected with spotted fever germs. The remaining 25 percent were infected without any previous protection in order to compare the effectiveness of the vaccines and the chemical substances. As a result, hundreds of the persons experimented upon died. Experiments with yellow fever, smallpox, typhus, paratyphus A and B, cholera, and diphtheria were also conducted. Similar experiments with like results were conducted at Natzweiler concentration camp.” Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals, Vol. II (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, October 1946-April 1949), 178.

[24] As described above, these polyvalent vaccines containing multiple vaccine viruses are already being used in laboratory experiments.

[25] Vaccines against viruses accidentally introduced in human populations in previously administered vaccines could also be tested. For example, an experimental vaccinia-based vaccine against SV40—a virus that was found to be a contaminant in several polio vaccines given to millions of people in the early 1960s—could be tested in human populations. (There is evidence that this contaminant virus is beginning to cause human cancer.) Such a recombinant vaccinia virus vaccine against SV40 has already been successfully tested in mice. In this case, a recombinant consisting of vaccinia and SV40 was made using a modified version of SV40. When injected in mice, the vaccinia recombinant was shown to protect the mice against cancer due to the SV40 virus. According to the authors, the vaccine “provides a new avenue for the development of therapies for human cancers thought to be associated with SV40.” Growing evidence of SV40 induced cancers in humans, along with a growing number of lawsuits due to contaminated vaccine exposure, will only increase the need for human experimentation with SV40 vaccines on the part of pharmaceuticals corporations. Y. Xie, C. Hwang, W. Overwijk, Z. Zeng, M. H. Eng, J. Mule, M. Imperiale, N. Restifo, M. Sanda, “Induction of Tumor Antigen-Specific Immunity In Vivo by a Novel Vaccinia Vector Encoding Safety-Modified Simian Virus 40 T Antigen,” Journal of the National Cancer Institute, vol. 91, i2, 20 January 1999, 169.

[26] The addition of “control” subpopulations that wouldn’t receive the experimental viruses would further hinder the correlation between the vaccine and any diseases induced as well as provide useful information regarding the role of the experimental viruses.

[27] Since smallpox was supposedly eliminated in 1980, there is no demand for smallpox vaccination against naturally occurring forms of smallpox.

[28] The authors of one patent relating to the use of vaccinia for vaccine experiments relate that, although the need to vaccinate the public against smallpox with vaccinia has disappeared, the uses of vaccinia as a vaccine development vehicle against other diseases have increased dramatically: “Vaccinia virus has been used successfully to immunize against smallpox, culminating in the worldwide eradication of smallpox in 1980. . . . With the eradication of smallpox, a new role for vaccinia became important, that of a genetically engineered vector for the expression of foreign genes. Genes encoding a vast number of heterologous antigens have been expressed in vaccinia, often resulting in protective immunity against challenge by the corresponding pathogen.” Paoletti, Enzo, Pincus, Steven E., Cox, William I., Kauffman, Elizabeth K., “Recombinant poxvirus--cytomegalovirus compositions and uses,” United States Patent, #6,267,965, 31 July 2001.

[29] Lobbyists from the pharmaceuticals industry managed to insert legislation into the Homeland Security Act protecting themselves from lawsuits resulting from negative effects of their products. “The Bush administration, voicing increased fears over the threat of a biological attack, has quietly moved one step closer to a voluntary national smallpox vaccination program by offering full legal protection to manufacturers and medical personnel who administer the vaccine. [Under a] provision belatedly tucked into the homeland security bill … the federal government would assume all responsibility for the smallpox vaccine. Medical workers administering it would be deemed employees of the public health service and protected under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Smallpox vaccine manufacturers, which were already indemnified under contracts with the Department of Health and Human Services, would receive even broader legal protections.” [emphasis added] Ceci Connolly, “Homeland Bill Covers Smallpox Shot Liability: U.S. Would Shield Firms, Health Workers,” Washington Post, 16 November 2002.

[30] Lobbyists from the pharmaceuticals industry even managed to use the 9-11 tragedy to get government protection from ongoing vaccine lawsuits related to vaccines administered years prior. Jonathan Weisman, “A Homeland Security Whodunit: In Massive Bill, Someone Buried a Clause to Benefit Drug Maker Eli Lilly,” Washington Post, Thursday, November 28, 2002.

[31] Experiments have been conducted with vaccinia-based vaccines in attempts to induce immunity to HIV as a means of preventing AIDS. In these experimental AIDS vaccines, modified versions of components of the HIV virus are inserted into the genome of the vaccinia virus and the hybrid virus is injected into the experimental host. N. Barret, A. Mitterer, W. Mundt, J. Eibl, M. Eibl, R. C. Gallo, B. Moss, F. Dorner, “Large-Scale Production and Purification of a Vaccinia Recombinant-Derived HIV-1 gp160 and Analysis of Its Immunogenicity,” AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses, vol. 5, no. 2, 1989, 159-171; M. E. Perkus, J. Tartaglia, E. Paoletti, “Poxvirus-based Vaccine Candidates for Cancer, AIDS, and Other Infectious Diseases,” Journal of Leukocyte Biology, vol. 58, July 1995, 1-13.

[32] Perkus, et al, “Poxvirus-based Vaccine,” 7.

[33] Human cancer vaccines against the Human Papilloma virus (HPV) are currently being tested in stage I/II field trials in patients with cervical cancer. See L. Borysiewicz, A. Fiander, M. Nimako, S. Man, G. Wilkinson, D. Westmoreland, A. Evans, M. Adams, S. Stacey, M. Boursnell, E. Rutherford, J. Hickling., S. Inglis, “A Recombinant Vaccinia Virus Encoding Human Papillomavirus Types 16 and 18, E6 and E7 Proteins as Immunotherapy for Cervical Cancer,” The Lancet, vol. 347, 1 June 1996, 1523-1527.

[34] See Jerry Leonard, AIDS: The “Perfect” Disease (

[35] This is the inverse of the process which uses challenging viruses to determine a virus’s ability to prevent disease.

[36] Immunosuppressive research was explored in cancer research for another reason. Scientists held out the hope that viruses could be used against cancer. Chester Southam and others injected vaccinia and other viruses such as West Nile virus into cancer patients to investigate their anticancer potential. To allow such anticancer viruses to do their job, means of suppressing the immune response to them were envisioned. See C. M. Southam, A. E. Moore, “Clinical Studies of Viruses as Antineoplastic Agents, With Particular Reference to Egypt 101 Virus,” Cancer, vol. 5, 1952, 1033.

[37] For an early experiment of this type, see M. A. Chirigos, K. Perk, W. Turner, B. Burka, M. Gomez, “Increased Oncogenicity of the Murine Sarcoma Virus (Moloney) by Co-infection with Murine Leukemia Viruses,” Cancer Research, vol. 28, June 1968, 1055-1063.

[38] I call this process the development of immunocompetence through immunocompromise.

[39] This procedure was recently used in an experiment with HIV in animals. The AIDS virus was used not only to cause cancer but also to inhibit its growth in the form of cancer vaccines! In this case, the human immunosuppressive virus was modified for animal growth and used to cause cancer and then to stimulate the immune system to inhibit cancer in the form of a vaccine. Challenging viruses were used so that the cancer rates could be compared and vaccine efficacy validated. S. Matsui, J. Ahlers, A. Vortmeyer, M. Terabe, T. Tsukui, D. Carbone, L. Liotta, J. Berzofsky, “A Model for CD8+ CTL Tumor Immunosurveillance and Regulation of Tumor Escape by CD4 T Cells Through an Effect on Quality of CTL,” Journal of Immunology, vol. 163, no.1, 1 July 1999, 184-193.

[40] Alternatively immunosuppressive viruses could be injected into subjects already infected with cancer viruses through “natural” causes to avoid having to make a second set of “challenge” injections.

[41] Work being conducted today in animals illustrates the feasibility of vaccines against cancer being delivered with vaccinia virus. Studies are being conducted to test bovine cancer vaccines that are made by inserting viruses into the vaccinia virus. For example, several studies have been conducted showing that bovine leukemia vaccines are feasible using the vaccinia virus combined with a bovine leukemia virus. Other studies have been successfully completed with vaccines made of vaccinia containing bovine herpesvirus-1 (BHV-1) and bovine papillomavirus type 1 (BPV1). See K. Ohishi, H. Suzuki, T. Yamamoto, T. Maruyama, K. Miki, Y. Ikawa, S. Numakunai, K. Okada, K. Oshsima, M. Sugimoto, “Protective Immunity Against Bovine Leukaemia Virus (BLV) Induced In Carrier Sheep By Inoculation With a Vaccinia Virus-BLV env Recombinant: Association With Cell-Mediated Immunity,” J. Gen. Virol, vol. 72, 1887-1892; M. H. Gatei, H. M. Naif, S. Kumar, D. B. Boyle, R. C. W. Daniel, M. F. Good, M. F. Lavin, “Protection of Sheep Against Bovine Leukemia Virus (BLV) Infection by Vaccination with Recombinant Vaccinia Viruses Expressing BLV Envelope Glycoproteins: Correlation of Protection With CD4 T-cell Response to gp51 Peptide 51-70.,” J. Virol., vol. 67, 1993, 1803-1810; S. Littel-van den Hurk, M. D. Parker, B. Massie, J. V. Van den Hurk, R. Harland, L. A. Babiuk, T. J. Zamb, “Protection of Cattle From BHV-1 Infection by Immunization With Recombinant Glycoprotein gIV,” Vaccine, vol. 22 1993, 25-35; G. Meneguzzi, M. P. Kieny, J. P. Lecocq, P. Chambon, F. Cuzin, R. Lathe, “Vaccinia Recombinants Expressing Early Bovine Papilloma Virus (BPV1) Proteins: Retardation of BPV1 Tumour Development,” Vaccine, vol. 8, June 1990, 199-204.

[42] Interestingly there is a precedent for a scenario similar to that just described taking place in animal research. For example, a similar progression from immunosuppression to cancer virus vaccines occurred in the immunosuppressive experiments with mice. After experiments were first conducted in which the Friend leukemia virus was used to induce immunosuppression to increase the infectability of murine sarcoma viruses, later experiments were conducted in which modified versions of the Friend leukemia virus were created and delivered via the vaccinia virus to induce immunity to the virus in mice. See P. L. Earl, B. Moss, R. P. Morrison, K. Wehrly, J. Nishio, B. Chesebro, “T-Lymphocyte Priming and Protection Against Friend Leukemia by Vaccinia-Retrovirus env Gene Recombinant,” Science, vol. 234, 7 November 1986, 728-731.

[43] In an astonishing front-page story in 1987, the Times of London announced that the outbreak of immunosuppression associated with the AIDS virus had been correlated with a vaccination program of the World Health Organization. The Times article revealed that several consultants to the WHO had made a correlation between the epidemiology of the AIDS epidemic and an international smallpox vaccination program organized and implemented by the WHO. The Times article announced that “[t]he Aids epidemic may have been triggered by the mass vaccination campaign which eradicated smallpox.” The article continued, “The World Health Organization, which masterminded the 13 year campaign, is studying new scientific evidence suggesting that immunization with the smallpox vaccine Vaccinia awakened the unsuspected, dormant human immuno defence virus infection (HIV).” An adviser to the WHO stated to the Times, “I thought it was just a coincidence until we studied the latest findings about the reactions which can be caused by Vaccinia. Now I believe the smallpox vaccine theory is the explanation to the explosion of Aids.” Pearce Wright, “Smallpox vaccine ‘triggered Aids virus,’” The Times of London, 11 May 1987.

[44] The experimental viruses could have been administered through the vaccine without the viruses being integrated into the vaccinia genome.

[45] HIV not only offers an opportunity to conduct “challenge experiments” in immune-impaired subjects; it also provides a demand for vaccinia-based vaccines—the perfect tool for conducting such experiments covertly. This is so because vaccinia-based vaccines are reported to be safer than traditional vaccines for use in HIV victims because there is less likelihood of these vaccine viruses becoming pathogenic in subjects with compromised immune systems. The stringent safety requirements for vaccines given to AIDS victims would therefore provide a pretext for vaccination with vaccinia-based vaccines, which would provide a vehicle for challenging immunosuppressed subjects with experimental viruses.

[46] For example, experiments are currently underway which are employing vaccinia-based vaccines in attempts to induce immunity to HIV as a means of preventing AIDS. N. Barret, A. Mitterer, W. Mundt, J. Eibl, M. Eibl, R. C. Gallo, B. Moss, F. Dorner, “Large-Scale Production and Purification of a Vaccinia Recombinant-Derived HIV-1 gp160 and Analysis of Its Immunogenicity,” AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses, vol. 5, no. 2, 1989, 159-171; Perkus, et al, “Poxvirus-based Vaccine,” 1-13.

[47] Perkus, et al, 7.

[48] Components of the human leukemia virus, HTLV I, have also been successfully incorporated into the vaccinia virus genome and are under test. H. Shida, Y. Hinuma, M. Hatanaka, M. Morita, M. Kidokoro, K. Suzuki, T. Maruyama, F. Takahashi-Nishimaki, M. Sugimoto, R. Kitamura, T. Miyazawa, M. Hayami, “Effects and Virulences of Recombinant Vaccinia Viruses Derived from Attenuated Strains That Express the Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Type I Envelope Gene,” Journal of Virology, vol. 62, no. 12, Dec. 1988, 4474-4488.

[49] The immune system damage caused by such viruses would turn ordinary diseases into deadly diseases. This would allow immunosuppressive experiments to double as biological warfare exercises.

[50] In my book, AIDS: The “Perfect” Disease, I argue that the AIDS epidemic was started as a biological warfare exercise conducted under the cover of a cancer experiment.

[51] Miller, Germs, 60, 61, 74.

[52] Miller, “Biological Weapons.”

[53] The U.S. successfully carried out a small-scale biological warfare attack as recently as the World War II era. Miller, Germs, 74.

[54] C. A. Larson, “Ethnic Weapons,” Military Review, United States Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, vol. L, Nov. 1970, No.11, 11.