In 1721, a small pox epidemic was ripping through the colonial city of Boston. Cotton Mather, a Reverend and Royal minister, convinced the physician Zebadiah Boylston to perform an arcane medical procedure on two slaves and Mather’s own son.
A global immunization campaign in the mid-20th century eradicated the smallpox virus, one of the deadliest diseases in history
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Sixty-year-old ampoule contains smallpox DNA, and it is unclear whether the virus is viable.