The Demon in the Freezer Essay

I. The Other Side of the Moon

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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

1.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

1.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

1.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.

2.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.

3.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.

4.First the monkeys were exposed to Harper, then Dumbell 7124 (India strain).

5.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.

6.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

1.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.

2.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).

3.The necropsy room was used to perform a post-mortem exam in privacy so no other animal of the same species can observe.


5.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 unnecessarily, seeing how the other monkeys died from being infected just as he was being to. They put the monkey out of his misery.

VI. Demon Eyes 1.An anthrax cell is similar to a virus because when it comes into contact with lymph or blood, it cracks open and germinates and turns into a rod-shaped cell. It is different because unlike a virus it is alive. It uses its own machinery to makes copies of itself.

2.Tom Geisbert believed the anthrax spores were man made because he observed that something was clinging to the spores. When he turned up the beam the goop began to spread out of the spores. The spores had something in them like an additive.

3.The anthrax may have infected and killed the postal workers because it was continuously handled by many workers. The envelopes were squeezed through the mail sorting machines which made the anthrax pores start to leak through the letters of the pores.

4.The Daschle letter had gone through the Hamilton facility en route to Brentwood.

5.The Daschle anthrax may have come from Iraq but the samples they’d seen from Iraq were completely different. The Iraqi had been mixed with bentonite and these spores didn’t have clay in them.

6.Ken Alibek defected to the United States from Russia. He revealed to the US Government that a panoramic vista of Biopreparat, as well as an advanced bioweapons program in Russia that was broken into secret compartments.

7.Ken Alibek suggests that biological weapons are more beneficial than nuclear weapons because while nuclear weapons destroy everything, biological weapons are more beneficial because they destroy vital activity (people).

8.The concept of vital activity was demonstrated when he the jar containing a surrogate of a weaponized brain virus called VEE, which traveled easily in the air. Depending on the altitude of the dispersal of the contents, the particles could travel close to fifty miles (this could be used with anthrax mixed with smallpox).

9.Geisbert discovered two extra elements in the anthrax spores: silicon and oxygen.

10.The EPA spent an estimated thirty million dollars decontaminating the Brentwood mail facility.

11.There were five homicides in the Amerithrax case.

12.The difference between a K and Q collected sample of evidence is that a Q sample comes from an unknown source and can be matched to known samples. K samples are reference samples that are fully identified.

13.The Amerithrax (Ames) strain came from a dead cow in Texas in 1981 and it ended up in the labs at USAMRIID. The fact that the Maerithrax strain wasn’t military pointed to a home-grown American terrorist instead of a foreign source. This helped to turn the focus of the investigation to wihin the United States.

14.The FBI still believed that al-Qaeda had something to do with the Ames strain because Mohammed Atta (who was the operational leader of the hijackers), made inquiries at airports in Florida about renting crop-dusting airplanes (he probably wanted to spray something from the air).

15.The investigation of Dr. Steven Hatfill was completely justified, although how the FBI handled it through the media was wrong. Hatfill clearly had a reputation and experience in the scientific community when it came to the knowledge to carry out such an attack. He had a storage facility in Florida and had access to a cabin in a remote party of Maryland. He even had a secret-level security and he was close with Ken Alibek and Bill Patrick (two men with anthrax making experience).

Hatfill even commissioned Patrick to write a study on the effects of anthrax mailed in letters. Patrick worked out a scenerio in which a letter containing two grams of dry anthrax spores was opened inside an office building. The FBI had every reason to believe that he was a person of interest, however the leaks to the media were unnecessary, because Hatfill’s career was basically because of being investigated. I strongly feel like there was no need for the media to be present everytime his house or cabin or office was raided and samples were taken out. The FBI wanted to show the public that they were doing their job effectively, but at the same time they didn’t have to use Hatfill as their scapegoat because his life and career were ruined as a result.

16. A bioreactor (also called an STLV) was developed at NASA. You can grow human tissues in it and then infect them. Using a device like this can test new drugs against smallpox and other exotic diseases that could not be tested ethically in people.

17.Dr. Alfred Sommer was enraged about the smallpox research that Peter Jahrling conducted with monkeys because he believes that smallpox could have been eradicated completely if the stocks had been all destroyed. He believes that the biggest danger of Jahrling’s research was it would look suspicious to other countries and would encourage them to do their own experimentation.

18.D.A. Henderson believed Jahrling’s work could not lead to the development of new drugs or vaccines against smallpox because what was really needed was an inhaled dose of smallpox in a monkey to test a vaccine, since people inhale the virus.

VII. Superpox 1.A recombinant virus is a virus that has been engineered in the laboratory.

2.Interleukin-4 is produced by the immune system because it fights off an infection by stimulating the production of antibodies.

3.Cellular immunity is provided by numerous kinds of white blood cells.

4.If the gene for IL-4 is added to a poxvirus, it will cause the virus to make IL-4. It starts signaling the immune system of the host, which becomes confused and starts making more antibodies.

5.The genetically engineered mousepox is compared to AIDS because it seems to create a king of instant AIDS-like immune suppression in a mouse right at the moment when the mouse needs this type of immunity the most to fight off an exploding pox infection.

6.There are two ways to vaccinate a mouse against mousepox. One way is to infect it with natural mousepox. The other way is to vaccinate the mouse with the smallpox vaccine.

7.The Australian scientists found that mice immunized with natural mousepox become completely immune to IL-4 mousepox, however it was different because the IL-4 mousepox crashed through the smallpox vaccine, killing the mice they had previously vaccinated.

8.Scientists should definitely be allowed to create a supervirus, as long as they are doing so for scientific reasons. If there was a complete ban on scientific experimentation that may lead to the creation of superviruses, then at the same time there wouldn’t be vaccines created. Before the Eradication began, there were two million people dying every year. Those doctors who ended the virus as a natural disease ended up saving fifty to sixty million human lives. Those who end up getting the short end of the stick (if there is no creation of superviruses and vaccines) are the people living in third world nations, where medical vaccinations are not readily available.

On the flip side, if scientists are given free reign to create superviruses whenever they want, then that will ultimately lead to biological warfare with countries threatening each other. This can lead to intimidation and blackmailing of smaller nations, who may not be able to compete and keep up. There need to be strict guidelines governing viruses (like smallpox) that countries create and expand on.

Last month, Australia was in the news because scientists there had genetically modified the virus that causes smallpox. They managed to create a new strain that had caused the death of all the animals involved in the study. What makes this different from what I read in the book is that the new virus was done with mice that had been previously immunized. This is a scary possibility because there are countries out there that are still looking to improve on the smallpox virus.

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