The last known stockpiles of the smallpox virus won’t be destroyed anytime soon, in part out of fear that one of the world’s deadliest diseases could be used as a bioweapon, the U.S. health secretary said Tuesday.
U.S. Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters that the U.S. and Russian stockpiles would remain in place for at least another five years when the World Health Organization could review the situation.
At a news conference at the U.N.’s European headquarters where the WHO assembly also was debating the matter, Ms. Sebelius said the U.S. is “committed to the eventual destruction” of the stockpiles but fears that smallpox could still re-emerge and be released unintentionally or deliberately used as a bioweapon. Scientists would need the virus to create a vaccine.
Full story: Last smallpox viruses won’t be destroyed