For Biology students in the College of Creative Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara.
Sunday, May 4, 2014
Should we destroy our remaining smallpox stockpiles?
On May 8, 1980 the WHO endorsed the statement that smallpox had been eradicated.
Now, more than 30 years since its eradication, only two high security labs hold the remaining samples of the smallpox virus. The samples are only used for research purposes to create vaccines and drugs in case of the return of the virus. It has also been revealed that researchers are able to use synthetic biology to create a version of smallpox from scratch. Currently, the WHO is debating as to whether or not the live virus is needed anymore. This article discusses the debate and some issues that need to be taken into consideration before a definite decision is made.