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SParker eparker at aros.net
Thu Nov 19 01:34:41 EST 1998

I think there is a basic RNA-DNA thing in the way of "combining" them.
Blackpox sounds scarry though doesn't it?

I believe there was a hemoragic form of smallpox that was observed in some
clusters of cases.  I would be very interested in finding out about the
hemoragic smallpox.  I believe stories of that form exist in the medical
literature (rather than the New Yorker where I believe Preston published his
Bioweaponeers article).

It is amazing how accurate much of Preston's article was.  There was another
popular-press article about soviet smallpox earlier this year in "The

I have no information about Blackpox.  I would assume that it is a very
unlikely combination.  I believe Preston pointed out that Alibek was not a

Eric Beard wrote in message <#HRErG0E#GA.161 at upnetnews05>...
>In an article by Richard Preston called "The Bioweaponeers", the
>of incorporating ebola into the genome of smallpox was mentioned.  A
>defector by the name of Kanatjan Alibekov (now Ken Alibek) claims this was
>accomplished in the Soviet Union with an eye toward developing a weapon
>the contaigiousness of smallpox and the lethality of ebola--"Blackpox".
>I would be interested to hear the opinion of an expert in the field of
>microbiology/genetics, which I am not.  A researcher at USAMRIID has stated
>that the combination, while possible in theory, is implausible.
>Thanks in advance for your input.
>Eric Z Beard
>SParker wrote in message <72r4nb$2pt$1 at news.aros.net>...
>>Why is it important for ebola to aquire airborne activities via a
>>evolutionary route?  This requires all sorts of particulars in the disease
>>that ebola may be unable to reasonable aquire.  In order to be a good
>>airborne infection the virus must be secreted into the nasopharynx in such
>>quantities (without creating a secretion that would not form nice
>>I would not think blood clots would form a very good aerosol) that
>>would form a good mode of transition.
>>If a microbe is being used in a weapon wouldn't it be made in fermentors
>>instead of people?  Wouldn't the mode of transmition be a weapon not
>>person-to-person contact?  I would think that many organisms that "are
>>transmitted by aerosol could be easily transmitted by aerosol if someone
>>tried hard enough.  The problem may not be so much biology (and certainly
>>not evolutionary biology) but physics.

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