Does the “world” still need to keep live samples of the smallpox virus?

Adamson S. Muula

Editor in Chief, Malawi Medical Journal & Professor and Head, Department of Community and Environmental Health, School of Global and Public Health, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences, Blantyre, Malawi

Correspondence: Adamson S. Muula(

Earlier this year (2022), the world witnessed sporadic outbreaks of monkeypox disease in countries other than those in which the disease is endemic. For instance, as of June 10, the United Kingdom had witnessed as least 7 cases of the disease; the first case having been reported on the 7th May 2022 and thought to have been brought into the country by a traveller returning from Nigeria. A week later, two more cases had been diagnosed in that country with health
authorities reporting these were not related to the initial case. Other countries on both sides of the Atlantic have reported cases. The monkeypox outbreaks have rekindled an old discussion as to whether it is prudent that the world (defined as the United States and Russia) continues to keep stocks of live smallpox virus.

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