The thesis of this Article is that the United States, Russia, and by extension, the world as a whole, are pursuing a fundamentally sound strategy in retaining, rather than destroying, the last known remaining samples of the variola virus. For now, those samples are housed in secure, deep-freeze storage at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia and at the comparable Russian facility, known as Vector, near Novosibirsk, Siberia. But that basic decision is about the only correct move we are making at this time - and even it is animated by fundamental misapprehensions about the stakes and the long-term strategy. Instead of undertaking a crash program of smallpox-related research, as demanded by the Bush administration, and instead of manufacturing and possibly administering hundreds of millions of doses of anti-smallpox vaccines, we would be well-advised to turn our attention and our resources elsewhere. We should preserve the virus, despite insistent pressure from most countries in the WHO to destroy it, but we should mostly confine it to continued long-term storage while we proceed judiciously in pursuit of other biological, public health, and national security opportunities first identified in 1973.
62 Md. L. Rev. 417-514 (2003)
Scholarly Commons Citation
Koplow, David A., "That Wonderful Year: Smallpox, Genetic Engineering, and Bio-Terrorism" (2003). Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works. Paper 120.