来源：生物谷 2014-05-30 09:22
2014年5月30讯 /生物谷BIOON/ --天花病毒，作为上个世纪最为致命的一种病毒在80年代左右已经在全球范围内得到了彻底的根除。然后WHO的两个委员会就是否销毁这种病毒产生的分歧。因此在WHO大会上，194个成员国一致同意建立第三个委员会用以讨论是否销毁天花病毒。
The stalemate continues over the question of when to destroy the last stocks of the virus that causes smallpox, a killer disease that was eradicated in 1980. One of the World Health Organization's (WHO) two advisory committees on smallpox supports their destruction, while the other opposes this. Last weekend, health ministers of the WHO's 194 member states again postponed a decision, and decided to set up a third WHO smallpox advisory committee in a bid to broker a consensus.
The issue came up again on the agenda of the annual meeting of the World Health Assembly, the WHO's top decision-making body, which was held in Geneva from 19 to 24 May. It was last discussed at the 2011 assembly, which reaffirmed that the stocks of the variola virus should be destroyed but deferred to this year's meeting discussion on any date of destruction.
A central question remains whether research of public health importance is still needed on the virus, or whether the last stocks should be destroyed to eliminate the threat of an accidental release from the two labs where these are still held - at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Russian State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology in Koltsovo, near Novosibirsk.
The final agenda of this year's meeting, however, only asked ministers to take note of a WHO update report to the assembly on progress on completing needed research. The WHO's 'Advisory Committee on Variola Virus Research' (ACVVR), which oversees and approves any research using the stocks felt that live virus was no longer needed to develop diagnostics and vaccines, but was still needed to develop antiviral drugs. By contrast, its 'Advisory Group of Independent Experts to review the smallpox research programme' (AGIES) felt that there was no research justification for holding on to the stocks.
For the moment, the precise terms of reference of the group have yet to be decided, however, or its composition. The latter will be important as the destruction of the variola stocks is also a political issue. The United State is strongly opposed to destruction of the virus stocks, largely because - as many other developed countries - it wants to pursue research that it believes might help protect against a bioweapons attack by rogue states or terrorists, who may have access to undeclared stocks - see this 2011 article in Nature: "WHO to decide fate of smallpox stocks."
Some scientists are also keen for smallpox research using live virus not to be stopped, but continued, and expanded. Two members of the ACVVR, Clarissa Damaso, from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, and Grant McFadden, from the University of Florida, Gainesville, have argued, for example, that the WHO's restricting of smallpox research to tightly circumscribed public health applications has limited fundamental research that could advance public health. In an opinion piece published 1 May in the journal PLOS Pathogens, along with Inger Damon, head of the Poxvirus and Rabies Branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, they argue that: "the research agenda with live variola virus is not yet finished and that significant gaps still remain".
But the majority of the health ministers of the WHO member states - including those of many poorer countries who view the risks of an accidental release as outweighing any research benefits - want the stocks of virus destroyed at some point. The question for the WHO assembly is, as always, when? - but yet again, it has kicked that can down the road.