Rapid Spreading and Immune Evasion by Vaccinia Virus

  • Geoffrey L. SmithEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 808)


Vaccinia virus (VACV) is the live vaccine that was used to eradicate smallpox, a feat achieved in 1977 and certified by the World Health Organization in 1980. Since 1980, research with VACV has continued in part because of the development of techniques to genetically manipulate VACV and create live VACV strains expressing foreign genes. These recombinant VACVs can be used as live vaccines against other infectious diseases and cancers, and as a powerful tool to study virus pathogenesis, immunology, cell biology, and virus–host interactions. This short article describes two examples of how enduring interest in VACV has revealed new features of VACV biology and the immune system.


Vaccinia virus Smallpox vaccine Immune evasion Virus spreading mechanism 



Work in my laboratory has been supported generously by grants from the UK Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust, and I thank these funding agencies most warmly for this support. GLS is a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow. I am also deeply grateful to the Nepalese Association of Medical Microbiology for the kind invitation to visit Nepal and speak at this First International Conference on Infectious Diseases and Nanomedicine-2012 (ICIDN-2012). On a personal note, it was a special honor to visit the country of the Gurkhas who were comrades in arms with my grandfather Professor Sir Ralph L Turner MC during the Great War and who saved his life in 1917, in Palestine. In the preface to R.L. Turner’s dictionary of the Nepali language [59] he expressed his lifelong respect and affection for the Gurkha soldier by words that are now engraved on the British Memorial to the Gurkha soldier in Whitehall, London and were unveiled by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1997: “Bravest of the brave, most generous of the generous, never had country more faithful friends than you”. To be able to recite these words before the people and President of Nepal was an unforgettable experience.


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Copyright information

© Springer India 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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