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NEWS
May 20, 2011 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times / for the Booster Shots blog
As international health officials struggled this week to decide whether to destroy the last smallpox stockpiles, Booster Shots blogger Marissa Cevallos delved into the disease's history to remind readers about the devastation it wrought. There's also an interesting point to be made, according to the Wall Street Journal: In virologists' forgotten collections or dusty museum specimens, the deadly disease may still exist. That possibility was highlighted when a scab from the 1876 in a Virgina museum display was snatched by personnel, clad in surgical gloves and gowns, who came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention back in March.
ARTICLES BY DATE
SCIENCE
November 21, 2012 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
Thanks to vaccination efforts, smallpox - killer of hundreds of millions people around the world over the course of the 20th century alone - was eradicated in 1979.  But even today the lethal variola virus, which causes the disease, is not completely impossible to come by. A team of French and Russian researchers recently found new snippets of smallpox DNA in 300-year-old mummies from Siberia, according to an article in the New England Journal...
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OPINION
September 26, 2010 | By Wendy Orent
Most vertebrate animal species have some sort of poxvirus capable of causing severe illness. These ancient pathogens have evolved within and among vertebrates since the dawn of life. In one of public health's greatest triumphs, our own orthopox virus — smallpox, or Variola — was eradicated by 1980. Because chickenpox isn't a true poxvirus, humans don't have a poxvirus of their own anymore. Now, however, some researchers are concerned that another orthopox virus, monkeypox, may be adapting to fill the void.
NATIONAL
December 20, 2011 | By David Willman, Washington Bureau
The House Energy and Commerce Committee is scrutinizing the award by the Obama administration of a $433-million sole-source contract for an experimental smallpox drug. In a letter sent Tuesday to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and three of his Republican colleagues requested documents related to the awarding of the contract this year to Siga Technologies Inc., based in New York City. Siga's controlling shareholder is Ronald O. Perelman, a longtime Democratic Party donor.
SCIENCE
March 13, 2004 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
An experimental smallpox inoculation using a weakened form of the vaccinia virus may protect people from biological attacks and could also be used on those with damaged immune systems, researchers said Wednesday. The experimental vaccine protected monkeys against a virus related to smallpox without causing some of the dangerous side effects of the older vaccine, the U.S. researchers reported in the journals Nature and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
NEWS
December 18, 2001 | From Associated Press
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began training state and local health officials Monday on how to recognize smallpox and quickly contain an outbreak spread by terrorists. "It's a sad day that we feel this meeting is necessary," said Dr. Walter Orenstein, chief of the CDC's National Immunization Program. "I hope and pray that this is a big waste of time." The CDC stressed it has no evidence that intentionally released smallpox is any more of a threat than it was before the Sept.
NEWS
June 20, 2000 | From Times Wire Reports
Eight children were hospitalized with high fevers and skin eruptions after playing with smallpox vaccine they found at a garbage dump in Vladivostok, Russia, officials said. They said the children, ages 11 to 14, were not seriously ill and there was no risk of them catching smallpox. Police said the ampuls were found near a public health station and they surmised that the facility had not followed proper procedure in disposing of them.
NATIONAL
March 19, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
Top aides to President Bush looked at ways they might deal with a possible smallpox attack, a drill that included reviewing some lessons from the response to Hurricane Katrina. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said there was no evidence a smallpox attack was imminent. The drill was one in a series of exercises the administration is holding to look at preparedness for potential public-health disasters. Officials held a similar drill in December on pandemic flu.
NEWS
December 25, 1993 | Associated Press
Smallpox will live to see another year. Scientists in Atlanta and Moscow were scheduled to simultaneously destroy the world's last remaining smallpox virus on New Year's Eve. But the plan caused such a furor that history's deadliest disease has won a reprieve. "We don't know just what the next step will be," said Chuck Fallis of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smallpox in 1977 became the only disease ever eradicated.
NATIONAL
October 7, 2002 | From Times Wire Reports
NATIONWIDE * The American Academy of Pediatrics says the nation's smallpox plan should involve limited vaccinations if a case occurs, not universal inoculations before there's even an attack. Potential side effects are too severe, and available vaccines have not been tested on children, who may be at higher risk for bad reactions, the academy said in a policy statement released today.
NATIONAL
November 23, 2011 | By David Willman, Washington Bureau
A Senate subcommittee chairwoman is calling for a federal review of the Obama administration's award of a $433-million sole-source contract for an experimental smallpox drug. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), in a news release issued Wednesday by her subcommittee, said that she has asked the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate. McCaskill's news release cited "serious questions" about the contract, noting that it had first been intended for only a small business and that, ultimately, it was awarded without competition to a larger company.
NATIONAL
November 13, 2011 | By David Willman, Los Angeles Times
Over the last year, the Obama administration has aggressively pushed a $433-million plan to buy an experimental smallpox drug, despite uncertainty over whether it is needed or will work. Senior officials have taken unusual steps to secure the contract for New York-based Siga Technologies Inc., whose controlling shareholder is billionaire Ronald O. Perelman, one of the world's richest men and a longtime Democratic Party donor. When Siga complained that contracting specialists at the Department of Health and Human Services were resisting the company's financial demands, senior officials replaced the government's lead negotiator for the deal, interviews and documents show.
NEWS
May 24, 2011 | By Marissa Cevallos, HealthKey / For the Booster Shots blog
Those last vials of smallpox, tucked away by the U.S. and Russia and due for destruction, have won at least another three years in existence --  suggesting other countries concur with the U.S. about their value, one leading health official said. Delegates at the annual meeting of the World Health Organization agreed on Tuesday to wait until 2014 to decide on a firm deadline for the final destruction of the lethal virus, Reuters reports . The World Health Organization has called for the destruction of such stockpiles since the disease was declared eradicated in 1980.
NEWS
May 20, 2011 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times / for the Booster Shots blog
As international health officials struggled this week to decide whether to destroy the last smallpox stockpiles, Booster Shots blogger Marissa Cevallos delved into the disease's history to remind readers about the devastation it wrought. There's also an interesting point to be made, according to the Wall Street Journal: In virologists' forgotten collections or dusty museum specimens, the deadly disease may still exist. That possibility was highlighted when a scab from the 1876 in a Virgina museum display was snatched by personnel, clad in surgical gloves and gowns, who came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention back in March.
NEWS
May 17, 2011 | By Marissa Cevallos, HealthKey / For the Booster Shots blog
International health officials are expected to decide this week whether to hold on to the last remaining stockpiles of smallpox, one of the deadliest diseases in history – or to proceed with their destruction. The U.S. argues that scientists need access to the virus for just a while longer -- saying they need more time to develop antiviral drugs and vaccines in preparation for a potential terrorist attack that everyone hopes never comes. The Wall Street Journal explains the U.S. position, while also pointing out that other countries are convinced the risk of an accidental release isn’t worth taking.  At stake in the discussion – taking place at an annual meeting of the World Health Organization – are stockpiles at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and at a Russian government laboratory.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 28, 2010 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
Australian microbiologist Frank Fenner, who headed the World Health Organization team that eradicated the smallpox virus globally and who played a key role in reducing the 1950s plague of rabbits in Australia, died Monday, according to the Australian National University, where he had spent much of his career. He was 95, and no cause of death was released. Fenner was a leading expert on three pox viruses: one that infects mice, one that infects rabbits and one that plagued humans.
NEWS
January 26, 1996 | Associated Press
A key U.N. panel has recommended destroying the world's last laboratory stocks of smallpox--a virus declared eradicated in the wild in 1980. For years, health experts who have worried that the virus could escape have urged eliminating the stocks, which exist only in the United States and Russia. But fears that this might undermine research delayed the decision. Researchers now say they no longer need the stocks, the World Health Organization announced Thursday.
NATIONAL
November 23, 2011 | By David Willman, Washington Bureau
A Senate subcommittee chairwoman is calling for a federal review of the Obama administration's award of a $433-million sole-source contract for an experimental smallpox drug. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), in a news release issued Wednesday by her subcommittee, said that she has asked the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate. McCaskill's news release cited "serious questions" about the contract, noting that it had first been intended for only a small business and that, ultimately, it was awarded without competition to a larger company.
OPINION
September 26, 2010 | By Wendy Orent
Most vertebrate animal species have some sort of poxvirus capable of causing severe illness. These ancient pathogens have evolved within and among vertebrates since the dawn of life. In one of public health's greatest triumphs, our own orthopox virus — smallpox, or Variola — was eradicated by 1980. Because chickenpox isn't a true poxvirus, humans don't have a poxvirus of their own anymore. Now, however, some researchers are concerned that another orthopox virus, monkeypox, may be adapting to fill the void.
NEWS
August 30, 2010
It was 30 years ago this year that the last smallpox vaccination was given worldwide, after the disease had officially been declared eradicated. But the elimination of smallpox vaccinations has, ironically, led to the emergence of a related--albeit less infectious--disease known as monkeypox. New findings reported Monday indicate that the prevalence of monkeypox infections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has increased 20-fold since the halt of the smallpox vaccination campaign.
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