The Demon in the Freezer
By Richard Preston
I. The Other Side of the Moon
1. Peter Jahrling wanted to work with the smallpox virus because he wanted to be in efforts to create a national stockpile. He could not believe that the vaccine was not enough for a bioterror attack on the United States. He wanted to find a cure for the disease.
2. In April, the Institute of Medicine issued a report saying that if the world wanted to have a new vaccine or an antiviral drug for smallpox then the virus would need to be kept for scientific experiments. President Bill Clinton had personally favored the destruction, but after reading the report changed his mind. The White House now endorsed keeping the stocks. A month later the WHO voted to keep smallpox alive for another three years until June 30th, 2002.
II. A Woman With A Peaceful Mind
During an experiment, Lisa was holding a pair of blunt children’s scissors with her rubber space suit gloves. She was trying to open a bottle by prying on a tab with the scissors. Suddenly they slipped and the tip of the scissors jammed into the middle finger of her right glove. She felt a stab of pain near her fingernail.
III. Nuclear Pox
The experiment that the Australians presented was they were trying to use a virus to try to cut down populations of mice. They had been infecting mice with an engineered mousepox virus that was supposed to make the mice sterile. But the engineered mousepox had wiped out the mice. Jahrling and Moyer uneasy about this line of research because the Australians had engineered a pox virus that could overwhelm the vaccine and they had done it by putting a single gene from the mouse into the virus. One mouse gene into the pox. They realized that the virus had taken down immunized animals and bioterrorists could use this.
IV. Chaos in Level 4
Lisa and her team were inoculating monkeys with different strains of smallpox. They were putting it into the bloodsteams of the monkeys and they used higher doses. Jahrling felt that if a billion particles of the smallpox didn’t give a monkey a disease of some sort, then nature would be telling us that variola was not going to go into any species except man.
Lisa worked in a corridor of the sub-subbasement. She was in a Level 4 area because that was where the smallpox and the monkeys were quarantined.
The monkey-model team consisted of Peter Jahrling, John Huggins, Lisa Hensley, and an Army veterinary pathologist named Mark Martinez. There was also an animal caretaker named James Stockman and two veterinary technicians named Joshua and Rafael and a biologist named Louise Pitt.
First the monkeys were exposed to Harper, then Dumbell 7124 (India strain).
First, the Harper smallpox was blown into the air around Monkey C099’s head. Then he got it inserted into a vein in his thigh and he received one billion infective particles of Harper smallpox.
Before they had used a lower dose and they had given the virus to the monkeys through the air. This time, they also put it into the bloodstreams of the monkeys.
V. Demon Eyes
Eight monkeys were given the Harper or India strains. There were seven of them that died (six from hemorrhagic smallpox and one from classical pustular smallpox). Harper was the only survivor.
The scientists bonded with monkey C099 because that monkey had been sacrificed as a result of their experiments and unlike the other monkeys, he didn’t die naturally (they put him to sleep).
The necropsy room was used to perform a post-mortem exam in privacy so no other animal of the same species can observe.
The one monkey that survived was put to death because protocol of the experiment required the euthanasia of all animals in order to gather more data on the effects of smallpox. I would’ve done the same thing because if the virus had spread through the monkey’s body, it would have suffered...
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