small pox $$

Robin Panza panzar at CLPGH.ORG
Tue Aug 6 11:51:45 CDT 1996

>I wonder how much it costs to keep smallpox in those labs?  After
>all they would want pretty good security.

The cost of maintaining the smallpox "vials" (or whatever the cultures are in)
may well be zilch.  If they're being stored with other high-security materials,
then the cost is, at most, whatever space they are taking up--e.g., 10% of the
freezer, than no more than 10% of the cost of maintaining and keeping secure
that freezer.  If freezer space is not at a premium (it's big enough to
accommodate everything necessary, with space left over for the smallpox), then
the cost of maintaining the smallpox is essentially zero.  Even the glassware
it's stored in isn't a cost, if the vials would be destroyed with the virus

I'm not advocating maintaining smallpox cultures, but neither do I advocate
destroying them,either.  I *am* strongly in favor of finding more money to fund
conservation programs.  However, let's not blame the pox for the scarcity of
biodiversity funding unless someone has evidence that it is, in fact, costing
significant amounts.

Robin Panza                     panzar at
Section of Birds                Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Pittsburgh  PA  15213

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