Pestilences

Man-made flu virus with potential to wipe out many millions if it ever escaped is created in research lab

Via dailymail.co.uk

  • ?  Scientist responsible is bracing himself for a media storm

  • ?  Just five tweaks to H5N1 makes it more contagious

  • ?  Contagious version of bird flu could cause pandemic

  • ?  Scientists divided over whether findings can be released

A group of scientists is pushing to publish research about how they created a man-made flu virus that could potentially wipe out civilisation. The deadly virus is a genetically tweaked version of the H5N1 bird flu strain, but is far more infectious and could pass easily between millions of people at a time. The research has caused a storm of controversy and divided scientists, with some saying it should never have been carried out.

The current strain of H5N1 has only killed 500 people and is not contagious enough to cause a global pandemic. But there are fears the modified virus is so dangerous it could be used for bio-warfare, if it falls into the wrong hands.

Virologist Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands lead a team of scientists who discovered that a mere five mutations to the avian virus was sufficient to make it spread far more easily.

He conducted his tests on ferrets as the animals have become a model of choice for influenza and have similar respiratory tracts to humans. Fouchier is so prepared for a media storm that he has hired an advisor to help him work on a communication strategy. The research done was part of an international drive to understand H5N1 more fully.

Fouchier admitted the strain is ‘one of the most dangerous viruses you can make’ but is still adamant he wants to publish a paper describing how it was done.

The study is one of two which has caused serious debate about scientific freedom and about regulating research which might have potential public health benefits but at the same time could also be useful for bio-terrorism.

The other paper, also on H5N1, was done by a joint team at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Tokyo.

It is understood to have had comparable results to the study done by Fouchier.

Both papers are now being reviewed by the U.S National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB).

NSABB does not have the power to prevent the publication but it could ask journals not to publish.

Paul Keim, chairman of NSABB, said: ‘I can’t think of another pathogenic organism that is as scary as this one. I don’t think anthrax is scary at all compared to this.’

Traditionally scientific research has always been open so that fellow scientists can review the work of others and repeat their methods to try and learn from them. But numerous scientists have said they believe research on the avian flu should be suppressed. However bio-defense and flu expert Michael Osterholm, who is director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said the work carried out was important medically. He added he could not discuss the papers because he was a member of NSABB but said if they were published certain information could be withheld and made available to those who really need to know.

‘We don’t want to give bad guys a road map on how to make bad bugs really bad,’ he said.

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2 Comments

  1. One of my very serious ongoing projects is all about finding and implementing any and
    all legitimate and acceptable ideas, methods, and devices that I can, to assist in the
    improvement and even sweetening of relations with my self, because as yet I’ve found
    no sustainable and viable or realistic alternative to living with myself, or whats left of this
    said self.
    We all make mistakes that among other things, do sometimes lead us to get our
    priorities wrong, and sometimes also to ‘miss the point’ (of things).
    Producing ‘Flu’ could possibly be like one of my recent fixations, on trying to determine
    how many different ways of spelling “F” I could find and use,( that is the letter “F”, and
    not the phonetic sound that would be implied), examples are: firstly F (that is just the
    letter by it self), then ef, or eff,….? Iffy? Then in various accents: if, eef, af, ayif etc.,
    or for the decent respectable and prudent, x, xx, xxx, and so on. Did I catch you?
    I guess we can see its a spiritual and mental issue rooted within the mind, conscience,
    emotions, spirit.
    Now all of this to some at least, might seem like a complete waste of time, plain pointless, or missing the point, and at the least it would definately be the first and
    third problem. For bevity, two main reasons, and because logic belongs to both the
    spiritual and secular world, can be entwined, and often result in mutual reflection, and representation. There are as yet no real concreat indicators or suggestions about
    what “F” is supposed to mean, or represent, and all thoes who do not know that the spelling of individual letters is not normally required, should not be in a class of thoes
    who do, and should be prepared for a glorious graduation.
    Based on my granted not inexhaustible knowledge and understanding of humanity and human nature, I would be inclined to believe the producers of Flu and the like are making provision for all the shades and the full complement of ASM(Anglo Saxon
    manure). xxxt. Reminds me of a certain ginger ale, and tonic water. (xxx) is sometimes
    translated as (ing)

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