Risky Resurrections: A Pox on All Our Houses?

The scourge of smallpox killed some 500 million people in the 19th and 20th centuries before being eradicated in 1980. While there’s plenty of the current vaccine to cover the US population, it poses complications to some groups, and debate has swirled over whether a poxvirus could still return as a bioterror attack.

Going on the offensive, veteran virologist David Evans embarked on a “Frankensteinian” mission, resurrecting horsepox virus with the aim of improving the vaccine.

It sparked outrage among those who thought Evans's team was playing with fire, but he has no regrets. Today, the work is the foundation of a new smallpox vaccine, TNC-801.


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