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October 17, 2004


Hope people are thinking about using the stuff in a way likely to reduce the rate at which the disease evolves countermeasures, if that's possible.

One is reminded of the poem that the discoverer of the malaria parasite wrote after discovering what caused the disease:

I know that this tiny thing
A myriad men will save --
Where, O death, is now thy sting?
Thy victory, O grave?

It will be wonderful if that's finally true.

This would be a wonderful development. We should recall, however, that mass innoculations and vaccinations in the Third World have their own hazards. Standards of storage, transport, and sterilization may not be what they might be in Europe or the United States. It's been suggested (by other than crackpots) that there's a relationship between the spread of HIV in Africa and poor sterilization procedures in the WHO anti-smallpox campaign.

To be perfectly honest, the problems caused by sterilization procedures in the anti-smallpox campaign were more than balanced out by the fact that there is no such disease in the wild any more.

The tendency to demand total perfection and 100% safety in everything is unrealistic, to say the least. Safety procedures are a concern, yes, but I'd rather see some vaccinations go by with small hitches than wait forever to see them go by in perfection.

This will *not* be popular among conservatives, who have been preaching the Gospel of DDT in magazines as diverse as National Catholic Register for years, as well as in Town Hall columns, for reasons that *surely* have nothing to do with the fact that folks like Olin Corporation used to manufacture DDT and sell it in the US, and would like to do so again. (No, no, it's purely humanitarian, their desire to encourage the spraying of DDT all over the houses of citizens of the tropics, and in the USA if possible - nothing to do with profit, as some of us nasty suspicious-minded types suspect. --Any more than the fact that the apologetics for DDT comes from people who are getting paychecks from Olin is anything but a coincidence.)

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