To describe the recent test of a vaccinia recombinant rabies vaccine in Argentine cattle as an attempt to avoid or sidestep governmental regulations of the United States and Argentina totally mistakes the motivation for conducting the test and what actually occurred. The test was conducted in Argentina not to evade U.S. regulations but because rabies is a problem of such magnitude among Argentine cattle.
The Argentine test was not conducted in secret, as stated in your article [see p. 11]. Before the uproar that ensued in Argentina in September, the Argentine scientist in charge of rabies research at Cepanzo (Azul) had publicly reported on the test. In addition, Dr. F. Assad, director of the Infectious Diseases Program of WHO, announced the trial at an open symposium on vaccines held at Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., in September 1986. In spite of this, PAHO representatives have since stated that, in retrospect, they recognize that PAHO should have formally notified the Argentine government that the test was planned to take place at PAHO's facility in Azul. For a fuller account, see The Wall Street Journal, November 24, 1986, p. 18.
Director, The Wistar Institute
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Cambridge Healthtech Institute