I'm disturbed by WHO's decision to destroy
the remaining stocks of variola in light of recent work with human
adenoviruses that suggest to me that some other human pathogens may in
the future also become sources of important treatments for human
There's an article on the adenovirus work in one of the October issues
of Science. Since it seems likely that other pathogenic viruses that
cannot replicate in the presence of a working p53 gene may also have
promise as anticancer agents, it is obvious that the variola stocks
should not be destroyed until their potential use in this context has
been thoroughly analyzed. In fact, I would guess that, the more
virulent the pathogen, the more useful it might prove.
I wonder if anyone has tried using this compelling new data to attempt
to convince WHO to reverse its decision to destroy the remaining stocks
in 1998? Can someone here tell me who might be interested in taking
this issue up with WHO or in raising this issue in scientific circles or
I'm just a lawyer and, as far as I know, the implications of the
adenovirus work for dangers of destroying the variola stocks have
already been thoroughly discussed in the cancer and public health
circles, but maybe not. I'd like to make sure.
90% of all mistakes in judgment result from wishful thinking.