"The Demon In The Freezer by Richard Preston

Essay by shakesphere April 2003

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"Future nations will know by history only that the loathsome smallpox has existed and by you has been extirpated."

Thomas Jefferson, 1806

in a letter to Edward Jenner

Inventors 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...