"They protect us, we protect them."

What to do with the smallpox strains ?

A decision regarding the destruction of variola strains kept in two laboratories, CDC of Atlanta and the State Research Center for Virology in Novosibirsk was to be taken by WHO in 2011 and in May 2014. It has been postponed again ? Why is it so hard to decide ?

A young British scientist, Emma Richards, asks the question of the destruction of the smallpox virus strains kept in two laboratories designated by WHO

In a previous article, we talked about the postponed decision to destroy the smallpox strains officially preserved in two laboratories designated by WHO.
News on smallpox

Last May (2014) WHO took no decision about the destruction of smallpox strains. The first 2 study committees having failed to reach an agreement, a third committee was created ...

Smallpox is one of the biggest killers in history. It was even intentionally used as biological weapon by Jeffery Amherst who distributed contaminated blankets to Delaware Indians in order to kill them.

Why destroy these strains?
The destruction of the strains would avoid the widespread of the virus in nature either voluntarily or accidentally. In this case, scientific research and manufacture of vaccine stockspiles would become unnecessary. Have we to fear the release of the virus stored in two institutions as prestigious as those who currently keep these strains ?

Can we be sure that other strains do not exist elsewhere?
In fact, this is the real problem ! A number of countries are suspected to have illegally strains (Iraq, China, North Korea, India ...). Sometimes we find strains involuntarily
One found vials of smallpox!

Can the strain be manipulated by dishonest scientists?
The current period shows that a number of competent scientists are working for states or terrorist groups. They can change the genome of these viral strains.

Does vaccines exist ?
We no longer vaccinated against an eradicated disease but it seems that the United States have sufficient vaccines for their population. Britain has also invested heavily in this area. However this is certainly not the case for other countries, particularly in developing countries for which a vaccine against smallpox is certainly not a priority!

Should we fear a resurgence of smallpox?
In populations that are not immunized, smallpox could spread quickly in pandemic form. But other illnesses could be formidable, particularly viral diseases (Flu, SARS Coronavirus ...) or bacterial diseases including manipulated strains in order to make them more pathogene and/or more resistant to antibiotics.

Could the destroyed virus reappear?
We can think that the synthesis of the virus, either from DNA fragments, or only from their sequences is possible. If it is not currently feasible, no one knows what science will be able to do in the coming years.

And if the postponement of the WHO decision to destroy the strains was as political than medical?

We can read the original article here

Deadly Smallpox- shoulds we destroy the last samples?


Nov. 2017
Paris-Nord Villepinte


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