Engineering the smallpox virus is dicing with death
IT SEEMS hardly believable. Only two years ago the World Health Organization voted to keep alive the last official stocks of smallpox virus. Yet since that stay of execution, smallpox researchers have grown in ambition, and this week comes news that scientists will be permitted to modify the genes of live virus for the first time. Has our need to tinker with this killer virus changed so dramatically in the past two years? Have we thought this through?