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Health Agencies Update
April 21, 1999

Smallpox Virus Reprieve?

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JAMA. 1999;281(15):1368. doi:10.1001/jama.281.15.1368-JHA90002-2-1

Preserving stocks of live variola virus may be crucial for making vaccines to protect the public against a possible future outbreak of smallpox caused by a bioterrorist attack, according to a new report from a committee of the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

Although WHO has recommended that these two stocks of variola be destroyed in June, some bioterrorism experts, who believe that the virus has already been distributed to other, possibly less secure, locations in Russia say such an action would be unwise.

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