Because a smallpox outbreak would be a global public health emergency of major proportions, in 1999 the WHO approved a research program at the two authorized repositories to develop improved medical defenses against the disease.1 In May the smallpox research program will mark its 10th anniversary, a milestone that has intensified the debate among the WHO'S 193 member states regarding the disposition of the authorized stocks of the smallpox virus. In response, the World Health Assembly, the WHO'S top decision-making body of member states, adopted Resolution 33.4 in 1980 urging all countries that possessed the smallpox virus either to destroy their stocks or transfer them to one of four designated WHO collaborating centers. Because the WHO did not have the authority or the ability to verify these actions by member states, the consolidation of the smallpox virus stocks took place on a good-faith basis.
The Smallpox Destruction Debate: Could a Grand Bargain Settle the Issue? Jonathan B Tucker Arms Control Today; Mar 2009
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