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Should smallpox have been destroyed completely?

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posted on Jun, 20 2003 @ 10:38 PM
right now I'm reading The Demon in the Freezer by Richard Preston, and it's about smallpox and biological weapons. smallpox was eradicated from the human population in about 1979 and today only two authorized supplies of smallpox virus exist, one in Russia and one at the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia, US.
there was a small window of time, probably about 1980, when it could be assumed that absolutely nobody but those two places had smallpox (today it's not so certain). my question is, do you think smallpox should have been destroyed completely during this period of time, all samples killed? or was the right decision made, allowing research into smallpox to continue?

edit: ack. first poll jitters, I guess. do me a favor and don't click on the blank one in the middle, okay?

[Edited on 6-21-2003 by MorningtonCrescent]

posted on Jun, 21 2003 @ 02:21 AM
Of course it should have been irradicated, however, I am sure the Soviets would have kept some assuming America was secretly doing the same. It is best to just be honest with the world and say we are keeping a sample.

posted on Jun, 21 2003 @ 07:11 PM
I dont think it really mattered, we had an easy way to vaccinate against it, and it is easily created. We should have worked at finding the root of ebola, or AIDs, rather than eliminating a disease that really, can never be eliminated.


posted on Jun, 21 2003 @ 07:15 PM
The easy route of vaccination can also cause smallpox xaos.

The soviets would never destroy it, so america didnt, and america would never destrot it, so the soviets didnt.

posted on Jun, 22 2003 @ 12:14 AM
i know, we could make a lot of european countries we don't like, and dump it all on them!!!

i think it should've been thrown out. we have no real need for it, unless we go cherokee style on martians.

posted on Jun, 22 2003 @ 02:18 AM
There are various situations I can think of where we would need a sample of an (older?) strain of smallpox

Diseases are harmful to mankind, but they are also a source of raw genetic material (in the case of viruses, they just contain RNA, right?). Who knows if a chunk of smallpox RNA might be able to help us create something that can destroy "Martian Fever" (or whatever) in 2345 or something?

posted on Jun, 24 2003 @ 12:50 AM

Originally posted by xaos
I dont think it really mattered, we had an easy way to vaccinate against it, and it is easily created.

except that today, we really don't have an easy way to vaccinate against smallpox. there really isn't enough smallpox vaccine floating around anymore to deal with a large-scale breakout, and replacing vaccine destroyed after the the eradication (the WHO had it destroyed to save on paying electricity for the freezers :p) would cost in the billions today. it's a messy situation all around.

posted on Jun, 24 2003 @ 01:50 PM
I thought I read somewhere that someone (I know, so specific) was able to create smallpox from scratch anyway, so it wouldn't really matter if it were all destroyed.

posted on Jul, 15 2003 @ 05:12 PM
Smallpox is not an RNA virus, it's a double-stranded DNA virus (in fact I believe the entire pox virus family is DNA based). RNA viruses would include Ebola and HIV (RNA viruses tend to mutate faster I think). Viruses are put under four categories: single- stranded RNA, double-stranded RNA, single-stranded DNA, and double-stranded DNA. The virus is also extremely complex (for a virus) and experts still haven't completely figured out what makes the virion work, so I don't think it's possible to create it from scratch either (yet).

As for the topic at hand, I think it should have been eradicated from nature but not existance. Smallpox is considered to be the worst disease in all of human history and is probably the most dangerous garden-variety biological weapon. But keeping the virus alive could help expand our knowledge about the disease and how it works and potentially understand epidemiology better. But since other nations are suspected to have virus samples illegally today I think the samples at the CDC should be kept alive to help find new drugs and other viral treatments.

[Edited on 15-7-2003 by SiriusTheVirus]


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