While there is growing knowledge among policy makers, regulators and the public on modern biotechnology in agriculture, awareness is still lacking in the fields of pharmaceuticals and medical treatments such as gene therapy and xenotransplantation.

The use of GMOs in the production of pharmaceutical products such as insulin and hepatitis vaccines raises issues related to production process, containment and possible human health effects.

The development and imminent commercialization of live GE vaccines is taking place with very little public knowledge and even less regulatory scrutiny. These require specific biosafety assessment and cannot be treated in the same manner as conventional vaccines. They are GMOs and each vaccination is actually a ?release? with all its environmental and health implications. A human and animal health risk that has been identified by some scientists is the creation of new viruses.

Meanwhile, live GE vaccines are already being tested in livestock. These vaccines raise the same issues and concerns.

Rapid developments in biotechnology, genetics and genomics already pose a variety of environmental, ethical, political and social questions. There are now increased biological warfare risks posed by the use of new and emerging technologies used to create new types of biological and bio-chemical weapons. These include material degrading microorganisms. There is a need for more understanding of the scientific research being done, the actual development of these biological weapons as well as the type of government actions required to address associated risks in biosafety frameworks.

TWN Brief on Smallpox for WHO Executive Board (Jan 2012)

This TWN brief summarizes key issues on variola virus for the WHO Executive Board’s 130th Session, beginning in Geneva on 16 January 2012. […]

Pharm Crops Ignoring Health & Environment

The promises of pharm crops undermined by threats to health and environment. […]

Decision on Smallpox Virus Stocks Destruction Deferred to 2014

A TWN report on the outcomes of the discussion of destruction of smallpox virus stocks at the 64th WHA (2011). […]

Open Letter to the 64th WHA on Destruction of Smallpox Virus Stocks

Forty-three CSOs have written an open letter calling on delegates to the 64th WHA to unequivocally terminate research with smallpox virus and to fix a prompt and irrevocable date for the destruction of the stocks. […]

Maintaining Clarity about Smallpox Research and an Essential Public Health Purpose

This informational briefing explores the need to maintain clarity about smallpox research and an essential public health purpose. […]

Call to destroy remaining smallpox virus stocks

As the 64th World Health Assembly opens on 16 May, global interest is turning again to the issue of destruction of smallpox (variola) virus stocks. […]

It’s Time to Destroy the Smallpox Virus Stocks

These articles make the case for the destruction of the remaining stocks of smallpox virus, held at two WHO repositories in the US and Russia. […]

Smallpox: Dealing with the Possibility of Stalemate

The US and Russia are expected to oppose any moves to set a new date for destruction of the remaining smallpox virus stocks. The informational briefing considers the possibility of a stalemate and contemplates what it might mean for the future. […]

Smallpox: Evidence Demonstrates Significant Risk of Lab Accidents

This informational briefing demonstrates that the risk of accidents at high containment labs is significant. With smallpox, the risk is proportional to the length of time that smallpox is stored and the number of activities conducted with the stocks. […]

Smallpox Virus is not Needed to Respond to Alleged Unauthorized Stocks

This informational briefing addresses the issue of alleged unauthorized smallpox stocks and explains why, even if they exist, smallpox virus is not needed to respond. Hence, the conclusion that the remaining stocks should be destroyed does not change. […]