Should the Last Samples of Smallpox Virus Be Saved?

11:12 minutes

The last known case of smallpox was diagnosed in 1977. In 1979, the World Health Organization declared the virulent disease, which caused millions of deaths over the course of history and prompted a global vaccination effort, to be eradicated. However, live samples of the virus live on, stored in carefully guarded freezers in Russia and the U.S. Now, world health experts are set to discuss whether or not it’s time to destroy those samples. Inger Damon, head of the Poxvirus and Rabies Branch at the CDC, argues that the time is not yet right.

Segment Guests

Inger Damon

Inger Damon is chief of the Poxvirus and Rabies branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia.

Meet the Producer

About Charles Bergquist

As Science Friday’s director, Charles Bergquist channels the chaos of a live production studio into something sounding like a radio program. Favorite topics include planetary sciences, chemistry, materials, and shiny things with blinking lights.