Demon in the Freezer Overview

1087 WordsMay 7, 20115 Pages
Introduction The Demon in the Freezer is a 2002 non-fiction book on the biological weapon agents smallpox and anthrax and how the American government develops defensive measures against them. It was written by journalist Richard Preston, also author of the best-selling book The Hot Zone (1994), about outbreaks of Ebola virus in Africa and Reston, Virginia and the US government's response to them. The book is primarily an account of the Smallpox Eradication Program (1967–80), the ongoing perception by the U.S. government that smallpox is still a potential bioterrorism agent, and the controversy over whether or not the remaining samples of smallpox virus in Atlanta and Moscow (the “demon” in the freezer) should be finally destroyed.…show more content…
A “Monkey Cabinet” is designed at USAMRIID and CDC for use in the possible investigation of the question of whether animals can be infected with smallpox. The development of a lethal, genetically engineered mousepox virus (the Jackson-Ramshaw virus) and its implications for bioterrorism are described. Finally, the “awakening” of the smallpox at the CDC’s MCF West in 2001 by US Army investigators to induce smallpox disease in monkeys for the first time is dramatically recounted. Section 6, “The Demon’s Eyes”, continues the story of the induction of smallpox disease in monkeys at the CDC in 2001. It was determined that the Harper strain of smallpox kills monkeys slowly while the India strain kills them quickly. This was the first time that smallpox had ever been shown capable of infecting non-humans. Of eight monkeys infected, seven died—six of hemorrhagic smallpox and one of the classic pustular type. There follows a discussion of the need and justification for animal-use smallpox experiments. The emergency evacuation of the Army workers in the MCF West on 9/11 is described. Section 7, “The Anthrax Skulls”, relates the atmosphere at the Department of Health and Human Services and their actions at the time of the 9/11 attacks. The story of

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