On December 9, 1979, smallpox, the most deadly human virus, ceased to exist in nature.
After eradication, it was confined to freezers located in just two places on earth: the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta and the Maximum Containment Laboratory in Siberia.
But these final samples were not destroyed at that time, and now secret stockpiles of smallpox surely exist.
For example, since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the subsequent end of its biological weapons program, a sizeable amount of the former Soviet Union's smallpox stockpile remains unaccounted for, leading to fears that the virus has fallen into the hands of nations or terrorist groups willing to use it as a weapon.
Scarier yet, some may even be trying to develop a strain that is resistant to vaccines.
This disturbing reality is the focus of this fascinating, terrifying, and important book.
A longtime contributor to The New Yorker and author of the bestseller The Hot Zone, Preston is a skillful journalist whose work flows like a science fiction thriller.
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