Images: left courtesy of CDC; right courtesy of Dana Johnson/Vanderbilt University Medical Center

In the mid-1950s, AIDS did not exist, chemotherapy was in its infancy, and people with genetic immune deficiencies died. At that time, smallpox was a genuine health threat and vaccinations were required, for some people once every three years. Everyone carried a World Health Organization (WHO)-approved vaccination card with their passports. Parents needed them when their children changed schools.

As reports surface of a few heart ailments and deaths in the United States following administration of the traditional Dryvax smallpox vaccine, more than 30 principal investigators throughout the United States are working on research projects related to the disease, according to data from the organization providing the funds, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. A budget breakout reveals that NIAID's actual and estimated expenditures for public and private smallpox research in fiscal...

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