Emory International Law Review


Kylie Thompson


In 1980, after a successful immunization campaign, WHO declared that smallpox, a virus that ravaged the human race, was eradicated. Today, the smallpox virus officially exists within two government laboratories: the CDC and Vector. The issue of whether or not to destroy the official stockpiles of the smallpox virus has been vigorously debated. Recent incidents, such as protocol lapses and the discovery of a forgotten stockpile, have further pushed the issue. In an increasingly interconnected world, the outbreak of a highly contagious, eradicated disease is more than disconcerting. The threat of bioterrorism also cannot be ignored as smallpox has been weaponized as an agent of biological warfare before. This Comment advocates for the destruction of the official stockpiles of the smallpox virus through the introduction of a bilateral treaty between the United States and Russia, a proposed United Nations Security Council resolution, and express criminalization of bioterrorism under international law.