Smallpox debate flares again

World Health Assembly to decide whether to keep or destroy deadly virus.

Dan Ferber(ferber@nasw.org)
May 8, 2002

URBANA, ILLINOIS — Cathy Laughlin says that we need to keep smallpox around to make the world a safer place. As a senior virologist at the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), she oversees efforts to develop an effective smallpox drug and an improved vaccine. Without carefully controlled research on the live virus, it will be harder to develop an antiviral drug and a safer vaccine, increasing the risk of a devastating outbreak if terrorists get their hands on the virus and intentionally release it. Without new antiviral drugs and a better vaccine, the population won't be protected.

Al Sommer says that we need to get rid of smallpox to make the world a safer place. Sommer, dean of Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, has never forgotten the months he spent with a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) smallpox control team in Central America in...

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