Smallpox killed people for centuries. In 1977, a sea plane carrying a medical team from the World Health Organization descended on a place called Bola Island, nestled in the world's largest delta. Their mission, monitor and eradicate a deadly and highly contagious virus, first documented in China and easily spread by droplets from a cough or sneeze. This is the story of eradicating smallpox. Dr. Larry Brilliant would go on to co-found the Seva Foundation treating blindness and later lead Google's worldwide philanthropy.
In a 2006 TED Talk, Dr. Larry Brilliant warned that the world was not ready for the next big pandemic. Fast-forward to 2020, as we deal with the coronavirus.