Super bird flu strain created by scientists is a recipe for disaster | Science updates | NewJerseyNewsroom.com -- Your State. Your News.

newjerseynewsroom.com

Tuesday
Sep 02nd
  • Login
  • Create an account
    Registration
    *
    *
    *
    *
    *
    REGISTER_REQUIRED
  • Search
  • Local Business Deals

Super bird flu strain created by scientists is a recipe for disaster

birdflu112911_optAnd you thought “Contagion” was only a movie.

Scientists in the Netherlands have genetically altered the N5N1 avian influenza strain — more commonly known as “bird flu” — making it contagious enough to kill up to half the world’s population.

"I can't think of another pathogenic organism that is as scary as this one," Paul Keim, a microbial geneticist who has worked on anthrax for many years, told Science Insider. "I don't think anthrax is scary at all compared to this."

The virus was genetically altered by virologist Ron Fouchier of Erasmus Medical Center so that it is now easily transmissible between ferrets, which react similarly to humans in transmitting flu viruses.

Even more frightening is that Fouchier is fighting to have his work published — a recipe for disaster should it get into the wrong hands, according to academics and bioterrorism experts.

Before It’s News reported that Fouchier’s team transmitted H5N1 from one ferret to another, over and over. After 10 generations, the virus mutated to become airborne, meaning ferrets became ill just by being close to the sick ones.

Science Insider also reported that a separate study with H5N1 conducted at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the University of Tokyo by virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka showed similar deadly results.

Ordinarily, bird flu rarely affects humans. However, when it does, it is a very vicious strain of flu that is often fatal. The Daily Mail reported that it has killed more than 500 people since 2004.

The scientists justified their studies by claiming their goal was to see if the disease could have the potential to create a pandemic. But the potential deadly consequences have other experts saying the research should never have been conducted.

"It's just a bad idea for scientists to turn a lethal virus into a lethal and highly contagious virus,” Dr. Thomas Inglesby, a bioterrorism expert and director of the Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said. “And it's a second bad idea for them to publish how they did it so others can copy it."

And that could cause life to imitate art.

—JOE GREENE, NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

 
Comments (8)
8 Monday, 19 December 2011 20:01
Michael Clay
I understand the reason that they would research what could happen if this particular virus mutated. However, I do not think they were very wise in doing so. They want to print it so the research they did can be recognized and they can be patted on the back for all the hard work they have done. That is just not going to happen. By publishing their research they are putting the entire human race at risk. They just need to destroy everything they created and do their best to ensure that the wrong people don't get their hands on this information. For all our sakes.
7 Friday, 16 December 2011 12:13
Malagua
The recent news about the H5N1 virus research by Ron Fouchier of Erasmus Medical Center is very disturbing. Genetically altering the H5N1 avian influenza strain and as a result, making it more contagious should be considered a crime against humanity. The researchers who committed this crime should be prosecuted. Were researchers in this area so oblivious that no one saw the implications ? Publish ? Are they INSANE ? Thank you.
6 Friday, 16 December 2011 11:30
Virginia Fasulo, MPH
As a public health professional and someone with years of emergency and disaster preparedness, I was on the front lines during 2009 H1N1 and I can honestly say, things were a mess. The extent of just how unprepared any of us really were for a pandemic flu was absolutely glaring and that in and of itself should have been enough to stop any of this kind of madness from happening in the first place. Burn it all, and do it quickly. This disease has the potential to be our extermination event and, trust me, I'm not an alarmist.
5 Wednesday, 30 November 2011 21:34
nursedancer
I know that research into how diseases and especially viruses mutate and infect humans and animals is important but just because we can do something doesn't mean we should. There are somethings that are just to dangerous to manufacture in a lab and this is one of them. These researchers need to have a reality check and balance and controls put into place so that this can not continue to happen in the name of science.
4 Wednesday, 30 November 2011 12:15
SUPERDUPERDUDE
Why did this scientist even feel the need to do this? And why did he choose ferrets to test it on, after all, ferrets are close enough to humans that they can infect us with their diseases.
WHO
3 Tuesday, 29 November 2011 15:38
LordWindsor5ohhhhh
Swine flew was such a scam I knew 50people who were quarinted for swine flew lol. They told me they have had worse migranes lol. Only one guy got really sick but that was for only a couple days. They tell us to get vaccinted against the flew I havent in 10 years and never got sick my wife got the flew shot last year she got the flew the next week lol just a money scam
2 Tuesday, 29 November 2011 14:50
Dr David Hill
The same institute that WHO chief adviser Dr. Albert Osterhaus operates from and who mainly caused the global drugs companies to make billions upon billions by the WHO calling an official pandemic. Now they create the greatest human killer of all time in their Labs. Do I feel another tens of billions of dollars drugs scam coming on? Possibly.

How do these non-intelligent people live with themselves when this could quite easily fall into the wrong hands...and they want to put it into print also. Sheer madness ! These people want locking up and the key throwing away.

For the Swine Flu showed over a year ago that by the time a new vaccine was produced we would all be well dead. i.e. the Spanish flu took from start to finish 6 months to kill up to 100 million and where the Swine flu vaccine was only created in the Labs after 6 months...then we had to manufacture it for the world. Therefore I will say it again, the only way to stop such a thing happening (and according to WHO D-G Margaret Chan it is only a matter of time, not when) is to address the killer virus at source. Is there respectfully anyone listening out there?

Dr David Hill
World Innovation Foundation
1 Tuesday, 29 November 2011 14:47
Dr David Hill
The same institute that WHO chief adviser Dr. Albert Osterhaus operates from and who mainly caused the global drugs companies to make billions upon billions by the WHO calling an official pandemic. Now they create the greatest human killer of all time in their Labs. Do I feel another tens of billions of dollars drugs scam coming on? Possibly.

How do these non-intelligent people live with themselves when this could quite easily fall into the wrong hands...and they want to put it into print also. Sheer madness ! These people want locking up and the key throwing away.

For the Swine Flu showed over a year ago that by the time a new vaccine was produced we would all be well dead. i.e. the Spanish flu took from start to finish 6 months to kill up to 100 million and where the Swine flu vaccine was only created in the Labs after 6 months...then we had to manufacture it for the world. Therefore I will say it again, the only way to stop such a thing happening (and according to WHI D-G Margaret Chan it is only a matter of time, not when) is to address the killer virus at source. Is there respectfully anyone listening out there?

Dr David Hill
World Innovation Foundation

Add your comment

Your name:
Subject:
Comment:

Follow/join us

Twitter: njnewsroom Linked In Group: 2483509