A scientist has shown that with around $100,00, a semi-professional level of biology and some mail order DNA a team could potentially bring back one of the deadliest viruses ever known to man.
David Evans and his team from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, were able to easily resurrect horsepox, an extremely close relative of the deadly virus smallpox using genetic pieces ordered in the mail.
While Evans certainly isn’t planning to unleash smallpox on the world again, he does believe that by closely examining this centuries old viral strain we can create more powerful vaccines or even create viral treatments to fight cancer.
Evans’ research is by no means new, but it is controversial which has meant that it has taken almost a year for the work to be recognised by an interview feature in Science magazine.
It’s not hard to see why, speaking to Science virologist Gerd Sutter of Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany warns that this resurrection technique could easily be duplicated for smallpox.
If it’s possible with horsepox, it’s possible with smallpox,” he warns.