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Home > Asbestos related diseases > Simian Virus 40 (SV40)


Simian Virus 40 (SV40)



There are evidences of presence of Simian Virus 40 (SV40) in human cells of mesothelioma. It can induce mesothelioma in the animal model. Polio vaccines that were used during 1955 - 1961 have been shown to be contaminated with SV40. However the link between malignant mesothelioma and a viral etiology is not totally understood.

SV 40 belong to the polyomaviridae. SV-40 is related to JC and BK viruses of human origin. As these two viruses it is a small double stranded, circular DNA virus but of rhesus monkey origin. SV-40 is also distantly related to human papillomaviruses. In their turn papillomaviruses can cause cervical cancers.

SV 40 is a frequent contaminant of the rhesus macaque kidney cell cultures. These cultures were used to grow poliomyelitis vaccines. SV 40 has been studied extensively as a model of tumor-causing viruses. Despite SV 40 has never been considered as a cause of cancer in humans, it was recently found in tumors of people. The specific receptor for SV 40 is the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) class I molecules.

Like all other viruses SV40 genome is surrounded by a protein shell called capsid. There are two main principals of assembling the subunits: genetic economy and specificity in assembling the subunits.

Method of transmission

Due to polio vaccination in 1950s SV-40 is now spread all over the world. About 23% of normal individuals are infected. This virus is likely to be passed congenitally to future generations because there are evidences of its presence in sperm fluid. The main result of finding SV-40 virus in rhesus monkeys was simply to switch polio vaccine production to African green monkeys.

Some studies show that children exposed to SV40 have no evidences of developing brain tumors, so existing stocks of SV-40 polio vaccines are still on the market. But according to the hamster tumor model virus exposure to newborn animals is required. So it is necessary to maintain the surveillance for the subsequent human generation.

However more and more facts are appearing which prove that a problem exists. FDA continues denying these facts. FDA and industry resisted to replicate overall story that address the question of different monkey viruses that could have been transmitted to humans through polio vaccines. Despite that the African green monkey has no SV-40 virus, it does have a number of viruses, for example, simian cytomegalovirus (SCMV). ?ohe virulence of live polio vaccines are tested using rhesus and not African green monkeys are used for testing as even the control African green monkeys are infected with neural infection.

Diagnosis of Simian Virus 40 (SV 40)

As far as polyomaviruses grow very slowly, it makes usage of cell culture for diagnostics of SV40 impossible. Serological analysis is not conclusive in its ability to diagnose clinical syndromes but still it can be helpful for epidemiological purposes. The best method to diagnose Polyomaviruses is PCR.

Treatment of Simian Virus 40 (SV 40)

Current treatment of immunocompromised patients is intended to reduce immunosuppression because there is no specific antiviral therapy for SV-40. Cidofovir has been shown to have in vitro activity against SV-40, JCV and BKV.

There is a link between SV40 and asbestos. Asbestos exposure without SV40 leads to mesothelioma in animal models. Exposure to asbestos and SV40 together can lead to rapid development of mesothelioma. Without asbestos SV40 does not cause mesotheliomas in animal models.

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