Tag Archives: smallpox

Will the US start a smallpox threat creation program?

smallpoxBy Edward Hammond, PhD
Smallpox Biosafety

In May, the World Health Assembly will yet again consider the question of destruction of smallpox virus. In order to politically legitimize keeping smallpox samples, the United States appears to be positioning itself to begin research that will create new threats from this eradicated virus.

By international agreement, all research with smallpox virus must take place under the World Health Assembly’s (WHA) authorized research program. For many years the rationale to retain smallpox virus under that program has been dwindling, as the program’s objectives that arguably required virus have been achieved.

As new and newer vaccines have been licensed, various diagnostics proven, and antiviral drugs developed, public health reasons to keep samples, held only in the US and Russia, have melted away.

Continue reading

WHO caves: Allows smallpox stockpiling for three more years

By Rady Ananda

Once again, the World Health Assembly failed to set a deadline for the destruction of smallpox samples, delaying discussion for another three years. Though it still affirms the need for live sample destruction, the two-day “contentious debate” (repeated for the last 25 years) ended on May 24 in a victory for bioweapons development in the U.S. and Russia.

“The retention of the existing stocks of smallpox virus are not required” to maintain and bolster current vaccine supplies, argues Dr. D. A. Henderson in Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science. Through current technology, smallpox vaccines can be developed from the known genome. Live viruses are simply no longer needed.

Continue reading