The virus that causes a smallpox-like disease in camels is more similar to smallpox itself than scientists thought and some fear Iraq may be using it in its biological weapons programme, according to Saturday’s edition of the British magazine New Scientist.

Geoffrey Smith of Imperial College in London sequenced a strain of “camelpox” virus isolated from camels in Iran in 1970 and his findings were published in the April issue of the Journal of General Virology.