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"The Demon In The Freezer By Richard Preston

1872 words - 7 pages

"Future nations will know by history only that the loathsome smallpox has existed and by you has been extirpated."Thomas Jefferson, 1806in a letter to Edward JennerInventors and Discoverers, do dream of the future implications of their creations, Bill gates dreamt of a world where every computer would run Microsoft software, Dr. Edward Jenner dreamt that his discovery would rid the world of Small Pox. Many would pronounce "The dreams of these great men have been realized thus saving humanity from the perils faced by the Aztecs".Richard Preston in his book "The Demon in the Freezer: A True Story" portrays how this dream may be short lived because of the fact that human kind has not rid itself of the potential to bring back Small Pox (Here Small Pox meaning not the virus but the disease itself). He goes on to explain how Small Pox which is attributed with killing over 1 billion people in the last 100 years of it's reign, can be made even more deadly with the effective use of genetic engineering. Genetic engineering has the potential to make Small Pox resistant to the only defense humanity possesses I.e. "The Vaccine" discovered by Dr. Jenner.Prudence indeed dictates Preston's conclusions, who won the American Institute of Physics award and is the only non doctor ever to have received the CDC's Champion of Prevention award. He even has an asteroid named after him. This also explains how he was able to interview top officials in many parts of the world who were somebody, and why we should take his conclusions seriously.The book starts out with the true story of Robert Stevens, narrated in a cold way by Preston. Stevens is a renowned photo retoucher who contracts anthrax because of getting in contact with a anonymous letter filled with anthrax spores, he later dies and is examined by the people at CDC. The autopsy attributes the cause of death to the anthrax infection. This was surprising as Anthrax (bacillus anthraces) was very rare, in the past 100 years there were only 18 reported cases of Anthrax in the United States. In light of the recent September 11th attacks many people speculated that this might be a terrorist attack. In the following days many more suspicious letters turned up. These letters were sent to USAMRIID a military bio weapons facility for further examination.The powder like substance which was present in these envelopes was claimed by USAMRIDD to be weapons grade Anthrax, meaning that the Anthrax was refined in many ways to produce maximum damage. This raised the fears that this may be a terrorist attack and since then the FBI is following leads but has not found the perpetrator yet.Then the book turns abruptly to another story of a man whom Preston names Peter Jarling this is set in the early 1970's. Peter was on a tour to visit many places in Asia, he suddenly fell ill with hepatitis in Karachi, he was later discharged and headed back to Germany. In Germany his symptoms again grew worse, and he got admitted into a hospital....

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