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Variola Virus

Virus found in child mummy could rewrite smallpox history: study

WASHINGTON: The discovery of smallpox DNA in a 17th-century child mummy may shorten the timeline of the deadly infectious disease's history, according to a study published Thursday. Specimens of the smallpox-causing variola virus now exist only in secured laboratory freezers. The highly contagious and sometimes fatal disease was finally eradicated in the late 1970s through a worldwide vaccination campaign. But the origins of the virus remain unknown. The discovery of the smallpox virus within the DNA of a skin…