Smallpox extinction

Geoff Crawford access_academix at optusnet.com.au
Mon Sep 13 10:53:32 EST 1999


The relationship between smallpox and cowpox is as follows:

Over 200 years ago Edward Jenner noted that people who had had cowpox did
not get smallpox and developed the first vaccine/vaccination program to
prevent a disease - in this case to prevent smallpox.  Smallpox is a benign
disease.

By the way - vaccination comes from the word vacca that means cow!

Regards,


--
Dr Geoff Crawford
Access Academix
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Templestowe VIC 3106
Australia

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Email        access_academix at optusnet.com.au


Ryan Doherty <rdoherty at chat.carleton.ca> wrote in message
news:37CEE661.A7E0F43E at chat.carleton.ca...
>
>
> 113141.44 at compuserve.com wrote:
>
> > On 30 Aug 1999 13:41:41 -0700, Robert Means <remeans at fas.harvard.edu>
> > wrote:
> >
> > >Hello All,
> > >       What do people think? Should the "last" smallpox stock be
> > >destroyed or kept stored for future scientific use?
> > >Bob
> >
> > I believe it is essential that the existing (known) stocks of smallpox
> > virus be preserved, for two reasons:
> >
> > 1/ there are no guarantees that separate stocks are not being held by
> > individuals or governments who may release the virus at some future
> > date, infecting a world-wide human population where there is no-longer
> > any active immunity to the disease.  The results would be horrific and
> > extremely damaging to world economies.
> > Related to this point, if such stocks had been genetically
> > manipulated, existing vaccines may be ineffective.  The continued
> > storage of 'wild-type' virus would enable comparisons to be made
> > between the wild-type and the new strain(s) and may be useful in the
> > development of new vaccine.  Although such development and scaling-up
> > of production of an effective vaccine would take time, the loss of
> > many human lives is preferable to the decimation of populations which
> > would otherwise occur.
> >
> > 2/ Mankind's knowledge of the living world is still in its infancy.
> > It would be arrogant to assume that we know everything there is to
> > know about smallpox and its interactions with all other free-living
> > organisms.  The virus may yet turn out to have an unexpected quality
> > which we can turn to our own advantage.
> >
> > The 'officially' held stocks of smallpox are (I trust) safe from
> > accidental release by any means.  Let's not be hasty in our desire to
> > destroy them.  After all, there are many more dangerous bacteria and
> > viruses in the world (e.g. bacillus anthracis, clostridium botulinum,
> > yersinia pestis, ebola etc) which are not very difficult for
> > individuals and governments to obtain, culture and disperse if they
> > choose to do-so.  Mankind is in danger from a lot more than a few
> > aliquots of smallpox !!
>
> How can anyone know that smallpox has been completely eradicated?  I know
> that mass vaccinations had resulted in zero incidence of smallpox, but is
> it not possible that smallpox may still exist outside of the known stock
> (i.e., in nature)?  Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't smallpox
> occurrence related to cowpox occurrence (I'm talking about over 100 years
> ago); and don't cowpox outbreaks still occur?
>
> Just a few questions that I know you can easily clarify for me.
>
>
> Ryan Doherty
> B.Sc. Biochemistry & Biotechnology Hnrs II
> Carleton University
>
>
>






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