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Medicine The Military United States

US Preserves Smallpox For Defense 248

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the it's-not-mine-i-swear dept.
lee1 writes "The US is preserving the last remaining known strains of smallpox in case they are needed to develop bio-warfare 'countermeasures' and as a hedge against possible outbreaks in a population with no natural immunity. 451 specimens are stored in Atlanta at the Centers for Disease Control, and 120 strains at the Russian Vector laboratory in Siberia. Meanwhile, the government has contracted to pay almost $3 billion to procure 14 million smallpox vaccination doses."
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US Preserves Smallpox For Defense

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  • by jellomizer (103300) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @12:27PM (#36168260)

    Yes but there are groups who wants to remind us that the U.S.A. isn't the model good guy. For some reason it gives these groups a feeling of self importance that they point out these things, they may not be able to feed and cloth the poor, or help improve the environment, or make anyones lives better, but they can do their part by showing that the United States of America isn't the Good Guy but a country out for its own self interest.

    This is Data that will surprise only the United State Citizens who are nationalist, and thus will not believe the data anyways. Or people who just Hate the U.S. and just add it to their list of problems. But for the normal person around the world it shouldn't be a surprise at all. Like Every Country in the world it is out for its own self interest, and doesn't want to be attacked and/or taken over by an other country, if there is a threat to that they will want any advantage necessary.

  • Re:Duh. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by arivanov (12034) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @03:34PM (#36170572) Homepage

    No, You _CANNOT_ recreate smallpox from DNA sequence. Not yet. There is a world of difference between simple viruses which have been assembled in the lab like the polyo virus and a smallpox virus. In fact there is a world of difference between a SmallPox virus and Flu.

    The SmallPox virus is _BIG_. It is so big that it is on the borderline to defy the common assumption that viruses are not visible under microscope. It carries a whole battery of own enzymes which are essential for the initial cycle of the infection. We have not yet learned how to build all these with the correct glycosylation (they have glycosides sticking on them same as your average eucariote protein). We are not in a position to assemble it either. If we were, we could assemble a whole eucariote cell which is not anywhere near the current science level. Same level of complexity more or less.

    In 10 years we may be in a position to build it from sequence. Now - not a chance.

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