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Condemning Smallpox to Extinction
Delegates meet next week for the 67th World Health Assembly to discuss the deliberate extinction of the smallpox virus. The global eradication of smallpox was confirmed in 1980. The World Health Organization closed smallpox research labs and destroyed all samples of the virus, with the exception of two sets of the Variola major and Variola minor strains. One set was sent to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, and the other to the State Research Centre for Virology and Biotechnology in Koltsovo, Novosibirsk.
The destruction of the virus was originally set for December 30th, 1993. However, opposition from the US and Russia have delayed the process.