QuirkyJessi

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http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/should-we-destroy-our-last-living-samples-virus-causes-smallpox-180951321/?no-ist

What do you think?

On one hand, if we keep them, then there's the risk of them getting out.

On the other hand, we could also continue to do research on these samples for future use in case a similar strain comes up.

 

 

Rainman

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Keeping them alive poses a serious threat to future generations. If there's a possibility of having the viruses reproduce [if that is the right term] then since other countries don't have a vaccine, it can be used as a weapon.

But to be honest, I don't buy that false report about "last samples." I'm sure some countries have the viruses somewhere in military bases to be used in biological warfare when the need arises. So destroying the so called last samples is of little importance. If only we stopped lying to each other . . .

 

Bunny

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Russia and America are the only two countries with it. They also have plague. I don't think we should destroy them. What if in the future we can grow them again and use part of it to kill cancer? Or an invading alien race? lol

Not to mention, it can help us understand things better. As for warfare, yes that is a concern. I guess people should just have the vaccine recipe and be able to make it if it happens.

As for getting out, they definitely wont be doing that by themselves. They're frozen (pretty sure that makes them dead anyway) and to get them out you need armed guards and passwords for the doors and the containers, etc.

Also, we don't even know for certain that the samples are even usable. The ice could have damaged them. If there's an apocalypse and people find it in the future I am pretty certain they will not be able to get into the containers, and if they do it's their own fault for not heading the big skull and crossbones signs everywhere.

OH and also there's no guarantee it IS the last sample anyway. Because they thought plague was gone, but it turns out prairie dogs are carriers lol.

 

bsthebenster

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I've never heard of a virus getting out of a lab. I think that for the most part only good can come of keeping these samples. It's possible that there's still smallpox hiding around the corner, so it certainly can't hurt to do some research and make sure we're prepared.

 

happyflowerlady

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I really don't see any benefit of keeping the virus. We know how to make the vaccine, so should it happen to still be in some other country, and we got infected with it here, or they did over in whatever country it turned out to be, we can just make more of the vaccine.
I think that if it is kept, it would only be for the potential use as a bioloical weapon. Sometimes viruses have disappeared out of labs before; so it would not be an unthinkable possibility that it could be stolen.

I think that if it was all just truly gone, then it would be one less deadly disease that we have to worry about killing people.

 

Bunny

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HFL war is definitely a concern, but I would think learning from this disease would be immensely helpful in the future. We should never just wipe something out completely even if it is bad. One day this bacteria might save us all by being reverse engineered to do something else, or something! Maybe when we have more powerful machinery to watch it work, we will learn something profound from it.

Or maybe not.

But I think it's worth keeping, worth studying, and definitely worth remembering.

 

happyflowerlady

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Since time immemorial, things,( people,animals, fish, bacteria------ all of thise things, and more), have come and gone.
We have all kinds of creatures that once existed, but now are extinct. I think that this is part of the nature of life on this planet, and maybe all through the whole universe.

I can see trying to save the things that are useful and good for the earth; but I see no point at all in keeping a virus that maims and kills people, and the sooner it is gone, the better, as far as I am concerned.

Most of the diseases we have in the world have been used against people , and I think that is the worst part of all.
If it could be helpful for saving lives, then, yes, by all means keep it; but if all it does is harm, then I see no reason to do that.

 

Bunny

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Wow, stunning argument there HAF, actually managed to change my mind. But I am still a hoarder and I think if we can study it in the future it might show us things about the past or present we didn't know.

Virus' can be modified to go into the body and modify genes, like how genetic therapy does but this would be permanent. A 6 year old girl with sickle cell anaemia could, if this tech becomes usable, be able to be cured this way....which is better than getting blood transfusions and injections every 3 weeks just to survive, and becoming pale and death like before you get to the hospital :(. Maybe this virus will be needed for something we haven't yet discovered. Maybe it's stable, maybe it's strong, maybe it replicates at the perfect amount. We won't know until it's gone and we need it.

 

happyflowerlady

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From what I can read about the smallpox virus, and the vaccine for it; we no longer have a vaccine for the virus; and once you get smallpox, there is no real treatment for it except to let it run its course. The reason it was called smallpox was to differentiate it from great pox, which is syphillis.
It has been killing people for thousands of years with no way of stopping it; so why would we want to take a chance of it somehow "getting loose" and casuing an epidemic for which we hve no vaccine.

The virus samples that they are talking about destroying are at present being kept by the United States and Russia; so that speaks volumes about the virus actually being saved to be used as a biological weapon by one or both countries.

Apparently , it has been used in warfare for at least the last 500 years, and was brought to the Americas by the Spanish in the 1500's and almost destroyed the Indian tribes, who had NO resistance to it. Imagine what it would do if it were released into countries now, who have no resistance and no way to cure it.
I doubt that the vials will be destroyed; not because the might be valuable, but because of the cold war between the United States and Russia. Neither side can be sure that the other side has truly destroyed the virus, so even if they claim they did, they won't.   

I think that we have had enough years to study it, that if it were going to be useful for anything good, they would have already been working on that.
Look at these pictures of what happens to people who get smallpox, and imagine what it would be like if it spreads worlwide again.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smallpox

 

Bunny

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I know all about Smallpox, Syphilis and also Plague because those where the three diseases I studied extensively in school. I studied how they affected the new and old worlds via the Columbian Exchange. I know in great detail what they do and how they do it.

But I am still reluctant. We do have a vaccine - and we can make more of it for sure. I don't think it's probable that it will "escape" as you put it because it's under extreme amounts of security and it's also frozen. Not even sure if it's still infectious, it could have ice burn and be useless.

Do you remember how many years ago before DNA testing we sent many people to their deaths and jail for years and years until we could DNA test? Then suddenly people were being released after being locked away for decades with millions of dollars? It's the same thing - we've kept the boxes of evidence even though we couldn't foresee any future use for them and now that we have the technology we can go back and use it on that old evidence and see things we could not before (peoples innocence for example).

I think this might be a similar situation. In the future we may get to a point where we can see or do things we could not before, and having this around might just help us more than we realise.

Also note lots of ancient virus' and bacteria are being thawed in the Arctic right now and could hurt our planet a whole lot...so you never know when something new will pop up that we need to use something old for :).


But believe me I support you on the not using it against each other. Also I believe it has a kill switch - in other words if it's removed from the place it is in everything gets fried. It has to be removed in a very specific way or everything in that room turns to crispy goodness.

 



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