UNSW Biodefence is a research collaboration between Professor Raina MacIntyre at the Kirby Institute and Associate Professor David Heslop at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine. Combining their public health and military CBRN expertise, they have done impactful and unique work on smallpox re-emergence. This tabletop exercise utilises that experience to enable stakeholders to reflect on gaps and needs for re-emergence of smallpox, and for any serious emerging infection, whether natural or unnatural in origin.
Smallpox is a serious viral infection caused by variola virus, and was eradicated in 1980. The only known repositories of variola are in high security laboratories in the US and Russia. The mortality from smallpox was 30% prior to eradication, but may be higher today due to lack of immunity. Smallpox is a category A bioterrorism agent, for which an effective vaccine exists. A White Paper from the first live version of this exercise, combining the expertise and input of a diverse range of international stakeholders, summarises the key learnings from the exercise as recommendations for policy and planning. A range of other relevant resources on smallpox are provided for you here.
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