Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Here's an idea, maybe not destroy irreplaceable* things? - Smallpox
To paraphrase the popsci article, stays of execution have happened for this idea a few times since the 70's. With the last KNOWN living samples of Smallpox being in 2 very far away from each other labs, developing nations (who would be most effected by a new outbreak) have been calling for its destruction for some time now.
I think this is a horrible idea, and popsci commenter All4it has a very good point. In addition, they're asking for the destruction of something that 1) possibly cannot be replicated 100%, 2) possibly could help save all of humanity in the future (after vaccinations for a seemingly dead threat have dwindled) and 3) we have no idea the implications.
Besides decades-old rumors of secret additional samples in less-than-friendly (to USA) nations, there is also the reasearch idea. We're STILL discovering things about other plagues that a living sample would be a fantastic resource for cute lab researchers (like wifey) to work with.
Sources -> http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-04/smallpox-destruction-debate-resurfaces-health-officials-prepare-annual-convention
additional, related link -> http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-03/first-we-eradicated-smallpox-rinderpest-next