serendipitous reflections

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Smallpox research big mistake

NPR reported on Thursday that the WHO will start allowing research on the smallpox virus (WHO allows smallpox research). "Smallpox is known to exist only in laboratory stockpiles, both here and in Russia. Research on the germ has been heavily restricted. But now, the World Health Organization has decided to allow scientists to experiment with the deadly virus. NPR's David Kestenbaum reports."

This is such a mistake. What is happening is that these politicians who decided to allow this research are treating this virus like a computer that they can exchange parts and upgrade, while we all know that the whole is much greater than simply the sum of its parts. Viruses, like humans and all other organisms, adapt to their environment. That is why antibiotics from decades ago have no effect today. As we start toying with a virus that only exists in a laboratory setting, we are toying with disaster. We hold on to stores of smallpox "in case" someone else gets some smallpox, even though the labs are the only known stores of smallpox.

At the end of the article, one sensible person states: The only way to be safe is to eradicate all known stores of smallpox and make possession of smallpox a crime against humanity.

We need to quit flirting with disaster and leave nature alone.


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