Smallpox study squabble

A row over patent rights and science-by-press-release has university researchers trading barbs

Jeanne Lenzer(jeanne.lenzer@verizon.net)
Sep 18, 2003

Researchers at George Washington University (GWU) who aided in a George Mason University (GMU) study of HIV immunity after smallpox vaccination are furious over press releases issued by GMU and over a patent application that excludes GWU.

GMU last week announced preliminary findings of a study that they say shows the smallpox vaccine can confer significant immunity against HIV. The university's same September 11th press release noted that GMU and two of its researchers had already filed patent applications for the "prophylactic and therapeutic uses of smallpox vaccine and its applications to HIV vaccines research."

The unpublished study details the results of experiments performed on blood samples from 10 unvaccinated marines and 10 marines vaccinated against smallpox 3 to 6 months earlier. HIV was introduced into the blood samples, and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from vaccinated individuals proved significantly more resistant to HIV infection than PBMCs from unvaccinated individuals,...

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