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WHO decides to keep smallpox stocks....for now

The World Health Organization has decided not to recommend destruction of the remaining stocks of smallpox virus. This debate has been ongoing since 1980, when the disease was declared eradicated. WHO has indicated that no new experiments on smallpox virus will be permitted, only conclusion of ongoing studies. For the US the decision is somewhat moot as that country declared recently that they would keep their smallpox virus collection. The fate of the viruses will be debated at WHO again in 2014. Note that the author of this article refers to the 'two remaining vials' of the virus. However, the remaining stocks comprise not two but several hundred vials. See virology blog at http://bit.ly/eXsBEX for more discussion of these stocks, and also to vote for whether you think the virus should be destroyed.

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