When an experiment is done in a virtual environment. The people are still alive after it is over.
When an experiment is done in real life- look at Tuskegee- people die and stay dead.
I found a mention today of a software "plague" that hit the virtual reality game, World of Warcraft. I have never played it but am a bit familiar with what it is... a multi player game where literally tens of thousands of players from all over the net may be logged on at any given time. I found it interesting that some speculate the response by those playing the game might give some insight into how people may react to a real plague.
Bad blood online August 22, 2007 12:00am A FANTASY plague that accidentally ran amok in the internet's most popular game world may help scientists predict the effect of genuine epidemics. The "corrupted blood" disease spread rapidly through the World of Warcraft game, "killing" thousands of players. It wreaked social chaos, despite quarantine measures. The experience gives essential clues to how people behave in such crises. In the game, there were diverse responses from the players to the infection threat, which Prof Nina Fefferman, from Tufts University School of Medicine, said players had taken seriously. Some acted selflessly, rushing to the aid of others, while others fled infected cities to try to save themselves. And some who were sick tried to infect others. "Human behaviour has a big impact on disease spread and virtual worlds offer an excellent platform for studying human behaviour," Prof Fefferman said. - AFP
Credit for the article source is to the Australian Herald Sun. Unfortunately I posted it in it's entirety because it was so short that I saw no way to edit it.