Smallpox

No one is known to have synthesized smallpox, but terrorists could eventually learn how - J. Craig Venter

Smallpox

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Chilling New Research Shows How Dire a Smallpox Bioterror Attack Could Actually Get


In the year 1980, the world achieved a major victory. Smallpox, a devastating and often deadly infectious disease that had plagued humanity for centuries, was declared eradicated.

Things have changed since then. Strictly speaking, the only officially known stock of the virus that causes smallpox is contained in two high-security biosafety labs in the US and Russia. Unofficially, though, it's a different story.

In 2017, scientists in Canada caused an uproar when they stitched together a synthetic version of an extinct horsepox virus in the lab, using mail-order scraps of cloned DNA.

This controversial chimera wasn't smallpox, but it – and the techniques…

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Last Updated : Saturday, August 8, 2020