Smallpox vaccine

Smallpox vaccine

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Credit: DIANE A. REID, NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Smallpox vaccine. Scientist holding a phial containing Vaccinia vaccine that is used to vaccinate people against the Variola (smallpox) virus. The dried vaccine is obtained from the lymph fluid of calves that have been infected with the cowpox virus, a virus closely related to smallpox. It is a live vaccine. Before use the vaccine is reconstituted with a diluent and is applied to the upper arm by repeatedly jabbing the skin with a bifurcated needle (not seen). Smallpox was globally eradicated in 1979 due to the effectiveness of vaccination. Despite this, a risk of re-introduction of smallpox exists due to the threat of bioterrorism.

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