View Poll Results: Should the last smallpox viruses be destroyed?

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Thread: Should the last smallpox viruses be destroyed?

  1. #1
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    Should the last smallpox viruses be destroyed?

    The World Health Organization is meeting this week to decide whether or not the last existing smallpox samples - held by a lab in Atlanta and a lab in Novosibirsk - should be destroyed. They're expected to render a decision sometime in the very near future.

    The US and Russian governments are bristling at the idea, claiming that it's necessary to keep the disease around in order to deal with a potential outbreak; the smallpox genome HAS been sequenced, which means that it's theoretically possible for it to come back in a couple decades when genetic engineering has improved, even if the samples are destroyed.

    Most other nations think that the risks of keeping the virus outweigh the benefits. As long as the virus is kept around, there is an increased chance that it could be reintroduced into the public, accidentally or intentionally.

    What do you think? Should the last remaining smallpox viruses be destroyed?
    Last edited by Kandahar; 05-18-11 at 02:19 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Should the last smallpox viruses be destroyed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    The World Health Organization is meeting this week to decide whether or not the last existing smallpox samples - held by a lab in Atlanta and a lab in Novosibirsk - should be destroyed. They're expected to render a decision sometime in the very near future.

    The US and Russian governments are bristling at the idea, claiming that it's necessary to keep the disease around in order to deal with a potential outbreak; the smallpox genome HAS been sequenced, which means that it's theoretically possible for it to come back in a couple decades when genetic engineering has improved, even if the samples are destroyed.

    Most other nations think that the risks of keeping the virus outweigh the benefits. As long as the virus is kept around, there is an increased chance that it could be reintroduced into the public, accidentally or intentionally.

    What do you think? Should the last remaining smallpox viruses be destroyed?
    I say keep it.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Should the last smallpox viruses be destroyed?

    There's no reason to keep it.
    So follow me into the desert
    As desperate as you are
    Where the moon is glued to a picture of heaven
    And all the little pigs have God

  4. #4
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    Re: Should the last smallpox viruses be destroyed?

    Quote Originally Posted by spud_meister View Post
    There's no reason to keep it.
    Smallpox and Jelly sandwiches.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Should the last smallpox viruses be destroyed?

    Does anyone really think the US and Russia are going to dispose of valuable weaponry just because the rest of the world tells them to?

  6. #6
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    Re: Should the last smallpox viruses be destroyed?

    I was going to say keep it and keep it under high security levels, then I remembered our high security levels for weapons grade Anthrax.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Should the last smallpox viruses be destroyed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Viktyr Korimir View Post
    Does anyone really think the US and Russia are going to dispose of valuable weaponry just because the rest of the world tells them to?
    Destroying the surviving samples won't stop it from being used as a weapon, they have the genome, they can re-create it at any time, and possibly change it to render the current immunisation useless. Keeping the samples around poses a hazard with no reward.

    And it only has a low potential as a weapon anyway, the mortality rate is as low as 20% (or up to 60%), any number of other viruses would work better.
    Last edited by spud_meister; 05-18-11 at 10:04 AM.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Should the last smallpox viruses be destroyed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Viktyr Korimir View Post
    Does anyone really think the US and Russia are going to dispose of valuable weaponry just because the rest of the world tells them to?
    Valuable as opposed to useful?
    I may be wrong.

  9. #9
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    Re: Should the last smallpox viruses be destroyed?

    Don't underestimate the psychological value of biological weaponry.

  10. #10
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    Re: Should the last smallpox viruses be destroyed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Viktyr Korimir View Post
    Don't underestimate the psychological value of biological weaponry.
    But the samples don't need to be kept for it to be used as a weapon, it can be created in a lab at any given time, with modifications to make its impact worse.
    So follow me into the desert
    As desperate as you are
    Where the moon is glued to a picture of heaven
    And all the little pigs have God

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