Outcry Over Creation of GM Smallpox Virus

This ultimately affects us all - regardless of country of residence. FYI - Anna (I can't help but wonder if this issue is why we have lost some of our top scientists over the past couple of years). Maybe we need to find out who to write to in order to give OUR input on this issue - since we all have a stake in this.

If anyone has any ideas of who to voice our opinions to - please post it to the groups - or to me, and I'll forward the information on. Please forward on to your groups and friends as you deem appropriate.

In Lak'ech - Anna
"I am another you."

ECO FOCUS: Outcry Over Creation of GM Smallpox Virus

Outcry over Creation of GM Smallpox Virus
By Steve Connor
The Independent U.K.

Saturday 22 January 2005

Senior scientific advisers to the World Health Organisation (WHO) have recommended the creation of a genetically modified version of the smallpox virus to counter any threat of a bioterrorist attack.

Permitting researchers to engineer the genes of one of the most dangerous infections known to man would make it easier to develop new drugs against smallpox, the scientists said. But the man who led the successful global vaccination campaign to eradicate smallpox from the wild said he opposed the move on the grounds that the scientific benefits were not worth the risks to public health.

Professor Donald Henderson, of the Centre for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh, said he feared that tinkering with the genetic makeup of the variola virus - which causes smallpox - might accidentally produce a more lethal form of the disease.

Here is a list of contacts to email your views regarding the genetically modified smallpox virus that World Health Organization is currently considering. Thank you Bonnie for the idea!

American Medical Association - Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, Institute for Ethics, Ethics Resource Center
Your shorter link is: http://makeashorterlink.com/?O1703115A

Dr. Lee Jong-wook, Director-General of WHO
(I guessed on his email - given that according to the email addy's of his PR people are "last name, first name initial @who.int I sent him an email at the above addy - and it DID not come back undeliverable after 20 minutes). I urge you to email him right away before he has the opportunity to block Key words from his mail - or to list this subject line Urgent Attention: Smallpox Modification - as junk mail. You may want to change the subject line - but make sure it doesn't appear as spam.

It is important when emailing the Director-General of WHO, that we be diplomatic - to get our point across without being rude. I have attached a sample email (the one I sent to test the email addy). Feel free to copy and paste this - with your own signature. The more emails he receives, the better. He needs to know that we are paying attention and that we no longer will stand by as "guinea pigs" and allow viruses to be transported and modified without OUR consent - since is US that were the 300 million + who were killed the first go 'round with this virus, IMO.

Mr. Simpson and Ms. McNab are the PR people for WHO. It wouldn't hurt to email them as well.

Mr Iain Simpson
Telephone: +41 22 791 3215
Email: simpsoni@who.int

Ms Christine McNab
Telephone: +41 22 791 4688
Email: mcnabc@who.int

Sample email (this is what I emailed to Dr. Jong-wook)

Dear Dr. Jong-wook,

I am emailing you to request your urgent attention to a matter of great concern. It has come to my attention that Senior scientific advisors have recommended the creation of a genetically modified version of the smallpox virus to counter any threat of a bio-terrorist attack.

I urge you to consider that smallpox is one of the biggest killers in the history of infectious diseases killing at least 300 million people in the 20th century alone. I urge you to consider that modifying this virus, while with good intent, is risky and puts everyone on this planet in danger. In addition, transporting this virus from two secure labs to other research labs in the world also puts everyone on this planet at risk.

I trust you will not act on this new recommendation and keep the smallpox virus where it belongs, under lock and key at the two secure labs where it currently resides. I urge you NOT to open this potential Pandora's Box; modifying this deadly virus is not guaranteed to be a beneficial solution to bioterrorism.

I appreciate your urgent attention and consideration in advance.

Anna Webb
Loveland, Ohio
World citizen, United States of America


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Januar 2005

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