Beware the horsepox virus, resurrected from the dead. Symptoms may include a desire to neigh, snort, and gallop with the herd. But seriously...

This latest lab-created horsepox virus is said to be the cousin of the smallpox virus, which health authorities claim was formally eradicated from the planet in 1980. Why eradicate one "deadly" virus only to revive its cousin? What is the purpose in that?

Molecular virologist, David Evans, at the University of Alberta, Canada, told the Washington Post that his efforts to create a new virus are aimed at developing cancer treatments and vaccines, especially since the current smallpox vaccine has some serious adverse side effects, including death.

A Short History of Smallpox

The introduction of smallpox vaccine shaped human history by killing countless thousands of people when it was introduced by Dr. Edward Jenner in the late 18th century (1796). Jenner's idea was born after he noticed milkmaids exposed to cowpox appeared to be immune to smallpox. He tested his hypothesis by inoculating a boy with cowpox pus and subsequently challenging him with smallpox. Jenner wrote a paper describing his theory and identified 13 other individuals who had contracted either horsepox or cowpox before being exposed to smallpox.

One could argue that Jenner's experiment set the stage for vaccine research today, but few appreciate that his arrogance and entitlement also lives on. Jenner ignored ethics in his desire to be noticed. He didn't see a need to receive consent from his patients. He saw no purpose for a control group when he perceived everyone could benefit. Some of Jenner's arguments to the Ethics Committee in 1795 follow. For a complete review see here:

ARCHIBALD TURNER
"Dr Jenner, after injecting the cowpox fluid, I understand you intend to challenge your patient with smallpox? How could you possibly justify this deliberate exposure to a disease you have just admitted carries such a terrible possibility of death or disfigurement?"

EDWARD JENNER
"I would be offering my patients variolation anyway. The design of my project allows me to use this not only as therapy but also the end point of my experiment.

DR REGINALD ARBUTHNOT
"Dr Jenner, how will you know it is the treatment that has effected the protection?

EDWARD JENNER
"Such work requires the doctor to be in doubt as to which treatment is better, to be in "equipoise". I am not in this position. I would be offering some of my patients inferior treatment. Not only would this be unethical but also my practice would suffer. My arguments convince me that vaccination will be safer than variolation, I therefore can't justify a control group."

THE CHAIRMAN
"How will you seek consent?"

EDWARD JENNER
"As a doctor I offer my professional skills to any who attend and I assume consent.

Interestingly, The Royal Society rejected the paper and suggested Edward Jenner cease his investigation, which Jenner ignored.

Records show that smallpox vaccination caused subsequent outbreaks and more people died in the twenty years following laws mandating smallpox vaccine than in the twenty years prior. The first ever study using government data on the use of the smallpox vaccine between the vaccinated and unvaccinated 1889 showed the severity of smallpox as a disease had not been mitigated by vaccination and found the vaccine to be "useless and dangerous."

Further one dose of smallpox vaccine, as any vaccine, cannot offer lifelong protection. It wanes after 3-5 years and requires boosters. The pattern of vaccine science, in fact, follows the Hegelian Dialectic - Problem-Reaction-Solution, to create vaccines to profit from disease rather than for disease elimination.

New Claims For Horsepox Virus

While Evans claims there is nothing dangerous about the synthetic horsepox virus, which is not harmful to humans and, like smallpox, no longer exists in nature, he also says, "in the case of smallpox, we have to be prepared for it," he said. "I don't know whether the risk has gone up or not. The fact we're talking about it is to some extent increasing the risk."

Evans contradicts himself by claiming not to know the risk of smallpox, while suggesting the mere mention of the word increases the risk. Does the science of linguistics play a role in a causal effect?

And just how does a horse pathogen ride in to save the day, capture the attention of news media AND approval from regulatory authorities at the World Health Organization (WHO) all in one fell swoop when such a proposal was never published in a scientific journal? Has science surpassed itself or obsoleted itself?

Perhaps there is no need for publication of a study when Evans' project is pending patent approval with Tonix Pharmaceuticals for the creation of a "new, safer Smallpox vaccine," using Jenner's original arguments.

Hold your horses! What about that name Tonix? Scramble the letters and Tonix becomes Toxin. But that's probably just a coincidence.

Is the WHO having a good laugh at our expense? What if the horse virus escapes into the wild? What then? Previous synthesized viral threats to human health have included Swine flu (H1N1), HIV, Avian flu (H5N1), Ebola, Zika (mosquito borne) virus,. However, these did not take hold as the epidemics portrayed by government and the media. In the same way, the horsepox virus is unlikely to spread.

History also shows that synthesized viruses do not pass easily from human to human, especially when originating from another species, be it swine, bird, or mosquito. The species barrier remains intact. It's not nice to fool Mother Nature.

For all the hoopla generated by the "deadly" H5N1 avian flu virus, estimates show it killed two dozen people in Hong Kong in 1997, and only about 400 people worldwide. Ebola fizzled in June of 2016 after the WHO declared the year-long outbreak in Liberia ended, and Zika's association to microcephaly never happened, despite attempts by the Centers for Disease Control to make it so. But all that is old news.

David Evans claims the creation of synthetic viruses isn't easy. He reassures that laws restrict access to smallpox genes, and not just anyone can get clearance to obtain such genetic material. Yet he fails to mention that he reconstituted the extinct poxvirus for $100,000 using mail order DNA.

In fact, smallpox can be purchased online and delivered through the mail, and reports from 2006 show that lax laws "could allow for the creation of bioweapons" by anyone. Since 2006, new DNA technologies like Crispr are so cheap and widely available that they can be purchased online from garage scientists. Not only do companies sell scraps of cloned DNA over the Internet, but a series of mishaps at the CDC shows a pattern of serious safety lapses and violations over the years that put the public at risk when it comes to rogue viruses:

June 13, 2014: Anthrax exposures from improper inactivation of samples.

July 2014: six vials of freeze-dried smallpox were found abandoned in a lab safety lapse.

August 2014: avian influenza was cross-contaminated with a potentially deadly kind of flu — the highly pathogenic H5N1.

Again, what is the purpose to bring the dead back to life?

The new and improved vaccine, of course! The new HorseVax is touted as the solution to eradicate smallpox once and for all. Perhaps the fact that smallpox IS eradicated means it is working already!

And just in case the new vaccine comes with serious side effects? Toxin Labs is not worried. The 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act ensures that vaccine makers are not responsible for any vaccine-related injury or death. They are immune from lawsuits, even if the vaccine fails to provide immunity to the population against smallpox.

What would Mr. Ed, everyone's favorite talking horse, say? Maybe what this world really needs is horse sense. "Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people!" - WC Fields