WHO Board Addresses Substandard Medicines, Flu Pandemics, Regulatory Systems
Published on 24 January 2014 @ 8:48 pm
Destruction of Variola Virus Stocks
The destruction of variola (smallpox) virus stocks, which are currently held by two WHO authorised repositories, one in Russia and the other one in the United States, was discussed yesterday. EB member states took note of the report [pdf] by the secretariat.
The report includes the recommendation of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on immunisation on the size and composition the WHO smallpox vaccine stockpile. At stake is the destruction of existing variola live virus stocks, its appropriateness and its timing.
Many WHO members said that the destruction of the stocks of live virus was premature and is needed for further research, and a number of countries underlined the threat posed by synthetic biology, which is suspected to be able to reproduce the virus. Other members said that a deadline should be defined for the destruction of the virus.