Absence of detectable measles virus genome sequence in blood of autistic children who have had their MMR vaccination during the routine childhood immunization schedule of UK

Authors

  • M.A. Afzal,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Virology, National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, South Mimms, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
    • Division of Virology, National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, South Mimms, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, EN6 3QG, UK.
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  • L.C. Ozoemena,

    1. Division of Virology, National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, South Mimms, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
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  • A. O'Hare,

    1. Child Life and Health, Department of Reproductive and Developmental Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
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  • K.A. Kidger,

    1. Division of Virology, National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, South Mimms, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
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  • M.L. Bentley,

    1. Division of Virology, National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, South Mimms, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
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  • P.D. Minor

    1. Division of Virology, National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, South Mimms, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
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Abstract

Leukocyte preparations from children with documented evidence of MMR vaccination and confirmed diagnosis of autism were examined by several assays designed to target multiple regions of the measles virus genome sequence. No sample was found positive by any method. The assays applied were highly sensitive, specific and robust in nature, and were based on the amplification of measles virus RNA transcripts by real-time quantitative RT-PCR (QRT-PCR) as well as by conventional RT-PCR-nested PCR. The assays applied were potentially able to detect measles virus RNA down to single figure copy numbers per reaction. The amount of total nucleic acid extract of leukocytes subjected to various measles virus-specific investigations was several fold higher than minimally required of a sample where measles virus persistence is well documented. This study failed to substantiate reports of the persistence of measles virus in autistic children with development regression. J. Med. Virol. 78:623–630, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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