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Q:
I have always loved a trick question. So here it goes. Since small pox has been eradicated from the world. Would you think it is ethical to maintain the last surviving strand cloistered on Plum Island NY. Or is it wrong to commit genocide on any living thing And why?

Question by Carl Huber. Uploaded on January 11, 2012

Answers (14)

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from fezzant wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Eliminating a species is a bad idea in general. Even a nasty one like small pox. Certainly this should be very tightly controlled because of the serious consequences should the little bugger ever got out again - and if you have not ever been to a CDC infectious disease facility, I can assure you their security is effective.

But you never know when something you killed off might turn out to have been essential to learning about or controlling something else. We could try to eliminate E. coli, which is responsible for a very large percentage of foodbourne illnesses for example. But E. coli is also extensively used by pharmecutical do develop and manufacture new drugs. Insulin, for example, can be mass produced by modified E. coli.

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from Treestand wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Ditto~fezzant, That sounds good to me!

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from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

It has resurfaced in Asia, and a few other place, you need some straind to make vaccines.

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from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

strain*

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from Carl Huber wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

And we have a winner with Mr. Smith. All infectious bacteria and viruses are kept and cataloged for the use in manufacturing vaccines. Also to track any genetic mutations and countries of origin.

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from 99explorer wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

My gut reaction is to destroy it because those things have a way of slipping out of high security areas despite the tightest controls. Academics can be very casual about security matters.
If a new strain should emerge, vaccines can be developed from specimens of the new strain.
If the old strains must be kept for study, they should be preserved as killed viruses.
Sorry to be the naysayer in this group.

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from dbramley wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Being that I was in the military And seeing the things like Anthrax and how you bleed from every oriffice. And then going to foreign countries and seeing the epidemics over there, then my answer is keep them for future times to make the vaccine for saving people. There are chemical and biological agents out there that are what nightmare's are made of. The fact that people are capable of such horrible acts and agents which are so horrible it is un-nerving.

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from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

If anyone believes that the only Small pox left on earth is on Plum Island, NY... I have a bridge to sell you.

We must preserve and maintain viable specimens of these diseases to work from in case some nut job decides to let it loose again or it pops up naturally.

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from Hil wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I don't think genocide of "any living thing" is wrong in every single circumstance. If it were possible to commit genocide on mosquitos, ticks and chiggers I would vote for it!

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Recently there was a lot of excitement when scientists went to Greenland to dig up several natives who died during the 1918 flu epidemic that killed more people than WWI. It was hoped that the permafrost would have preserved the bodies sufficiently so that specimens of that flu strain could be cultured to help us engineer vaccines for the next pandemic. Unfortunately, it didn't work. The bodies were too far gone as I understand it. The same reasoning applies to preserving small pox. Yes, there is some highly remote risk involved in preserving these killers, but the inevitability of them naturally resurfacing again in a mutated form makes storing them a risk we have to take.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carl Huber wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I would like to cast my vote to maintain the samples. I have three reasons. First the security is extremely tight. I have had easier passage in Cartier's, the Federal Exchange Bank, Diplomatic compounds and back stage with Frank Sinatra. If you visit Plum Island you bring nothing in and nothing out. Second to weaponize a sample you need a sophisticated lab. This can't be done in your garage. Third these samples exist in defunct super powers and not so defunct super powers. That is were the real threat lies.

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from coydogger wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Is not Plum Island where the tick borne Lyme disease originally escaped from, via a bird, later discovered in Lyme Ct. ?

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from Carl Huber wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

coydogger, No the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease is found across the world in any warm climate. Asia, Africa, South America, the U.S. and southern Canada. It was also found in New york in 1749. Way before Plum Island was even a thought.

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from Carl Huber wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

P.S. I think the confusion arises from the fact that arthritis can developed from among other things a bacterial infection. This connection was made in Lyme Connecticut in the 60's. But it was prevalent hundreds of years previous and called Montauk knee. Back to paleolithic times.

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from fezzant wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Eliminating a species is a bad idea in general. Even a nasty one like small pox. Certainly this should be very tightly controlled because of the serious consequences should the little bugger ever got out again - and if you have not ever been to a CDC infectious disease facility, I can assure you their security is effective.

But you never know when something you killed off might turn out to have been essential to learning about or controlling something else. We could try to eliminate E. coli, which is responsible for a very large percentage of foodbourne illnesses for example. But E. coli is also extensively used by pharmecutical do develop and manufacture new drugs. Insulin, for example, can be mass produced by modified E. coli.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from dbramley wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Being that I was in the military And seeing the things like Anthrax and how you bleed from every oriffice. And then going to foreign countries and seeing the epidemics over there, then my answer is keep them for future times to make the vaccine for saving people. There are chemical and biological agents out there that are what nightmare's are made of. The fact that people are capable of such horrible acts and agents which are so horrible it is un-nerving.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

It has resurfaced in Asia, and a few other place, you need some straind to make vaccines.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

If anyone believes that the only Small pox left on earth is on Plum Island, NY... I have a bridge to sell you.

We must preserve and maintain viable specimens of these diseases to work from in case some nut job decides to let it loose again or it pops up naturally.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carl Huber wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I would like to cast my vote to maintain the samples. I have three reasons. First the security is extremely tight. I have had easier passage in Cartier's, the Federal Exchange Bank, Diplomatic compounds and back stage with Frank Sinatra. If you visit Plum Island you bring nothing in and nothing out. Second to weaponize a sample you need a sophisticated lab. This can't be done in your garage. Third these samples exist in defunct super powers and not so defunct super powers. That is were the real threat lies.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Treestand wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Ditto~fezzant, That sounds good to me!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carl Huber wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

And we have a winner with Mr. Smith. All infectious bacteria and viruses are kept and cataloged for the use in manufacturing vaccines. Also to track any genetic mutations and countries of origin.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 99explorer wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

My gut reaction is to destroy it because those things have a way of slipping out of high security areas despite the tightest controls. Academics can be very casual about security matters.
If a new strain should emerge, vaccines can be developed from specimens of the new strain.
If the old strains must be kept for study, they should be preserved as killed viruses.
Sorry to be the naysayer in this group.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hil wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I don't think genocide of "any living thing" is wrong in every single circumstance. If it were possible to commit genocide on mosquitos, ticks and chiggers I would vote for it!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Recently there was a lot of excitement when scientists went to Greenland to dig up several natives who died during the 1918 flu epidemic that killed more people than WWI. It was hoped that the permafrost would have preserved the bodies sufficiently so that specimens of that flu strain could be cultured to help us engineer vaccines for the next pandemic. Unfortunately, it didn't work. The bodies were too far gone as I understand it. The same reasoning applies to preserving small pox. Yes, there is some highly remote risk involved in preserving these killers, but the inevitability of them naturally resurfacing again in a mutated form makes storing them a risk we have to take.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

strain*

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from coydogger wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Is not Plum Island where the tick borne Lyme disease originally escaped from, via a bird, later discovered in Lyme Ct. ?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carl Huber wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

coydogger, No the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease is found across the world in any warm climate. Asia, Africa, South America, the U.S. and southern Canada. It was also found in New york in 1749. Way before Plum Island was even a thought.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carl Huber wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

P.S. I think the confusion arises from the fact that arthritis can developed from among other things a bacterial infection. This connection was made in Lyme Connecticut in the 60's. But it was prevalent hundreds of years previous and called Montauk knee. Back to paleolithic times.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post an Answer

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