(NaturalNews) The development of the first vaccine for polio back in the 1950s is still glorified in the mainstream media as one of the most important public health breakthroughs in recorded history. But a little-known documentary which aired on the Canadian news network CBC back in 1997 tells a much different story about the polio vaccine's safety and effectiveness, including its known tainting with a monkey virus linked to causing cancer and death.
Presented on YouTube by the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), the documentary, which first aired on the network's Current Affairs: Beyond the Headlines program the fifth estate, investigates the history of how the first polio vaccines were made. Attributed primarily to the late Jonas Salk, the development of the polio vaccine involved extracting the kidneys of rhesus monkeys and infecting them with polio in order to produce a vaccine serum.
Sounds simple, right? Except for the fact that many of the monkeys from which tissue was taken were infected with deadly viruses that would end up harboring in and infecting humans. The main virus of concern is known as SV40, which later studies revealed is associated with causing brain cancer. Though it had previously only been thought to infect other monkeys, SV40 was eventually determined to have made its home inside the bodies of millions of humans injected with the polio vaccine.
"It was believed that SV40 only infected monkeys and shouldn't be found in humans in any circumstance, let alone associated with tumors," explained Dr. Daniel Bergsagel, M.D., a pediatric oncologist from Canada who had been treating kids with cancer in Atlanta at the time when the documentary was made. Dr. Bergsagel and his colleagues made the inadvertent discovery that SV40 was present in tumor samples collected from sick children.
As it turns out, dozens of monkey viruses were present in the earliest polio vaccines administered during the mass vaccination campaigns that took place back in the 1950s and 1960s. And the worst part is that those working on the vaccines, including Salk and his colleague Albert Sabin, had to have known that the monkeys from which they were producing vaccines were heavily contaminated.
"The best estimate we can get right now is that there was at least 26 different monkey viruses in those preparations," added Dr. Howard B. Urnevitz, a microbiologist and vaccinologist from California who has long studied the process by which vaccines are made, to CBC during an interview.
"They varied from lot to lot, from country to country, but it was very clear that these monkeys were heavily contaminated -- and realize, you had to have just one sick monkey -- and they were put in a cage with other monkeys and they would infect each other. Their kidneys were removed and all of these viruses would be in it."
SV40 causes cancer in tests on lab hamsters, proving dangers to mammals
When questions about the safety of SV40 in polio vaccines gained more widespread attention, the government of Canada worked out a plan to test an oral version of the vaccine, also containing SV40, on humans. Not long after, tests on lab hamsters revealed that SV40 does, indeed, affect mammals, a finding that has never been proven false.
"It was the first case we knew of where a monkey virus causes cancer in a rodent," explained Dr. Benjamin Sweet, the retired scientist who at that time, with the help of his colleagues, made the connection between SV40 and cancer.
You can watch the full, three-part documentary as presented on YouTube by visiting the following link: OldThinkerNews.com.