Is it true that there are vaccines produced using
Some of the vaccines currently used to prevent diseases such as rubella, measles, rabies,
poliomyelitis, hepatitis A, chickenpox or smallpox are produced using tissues from human
The vaccines consist of dead or attenuated live viruses that are introduced into the patient’s body
to activate the body’s defences against that virus without becoming ill. Thus, if the patient
subsequently enters into contact with the live virus, it will be unable infect him, since he has the
necessary defences to cope with it, i.e. he is immunised.
To prepare the vaccines, the viruses must be cultured in cells in the laboratory. The ethical
difficulty appears when these cells come from surgically-aborted human foetuse. Similarly, the
viruses themselves can be obtained from aborted foetuses that have been infected with a
particular virus. An article published in 2008 in Cuadernos de Bioetica includes detailed
information on the different cells and viral strains originating from these sources.