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Excerpt: "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."

A new a man-made flu virus could potentially wipe out civilization, according to critics of new scientific research. (photo: Reuters)
A new a man-made flu virus could potentially wipe out civilization, according to critics of new scientific research. (photo: Reuters)



Scientist Weaponizes Flu Strain in Bioterrorism Experiment

By Daily Mail UK

28 November 11

 

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 their 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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+22 # pernsey 2011-11-28 21:46
This is some serious scary stuff!
 
 
+17 # banichi 2011-11-29 01:00
This is unbelievable - how could any scientist with a vestige of morality first conduct such research, and second want to give away the procedure by which it was done by publishing it! Is he insane? Who is going to benefit (for very long) if this kind of research is permitted and then publicized so everyone and anyone can replicate it?
 
 
0 # AndreM5 2011-11-29 09:52
Viri mutate. Evolution is real. There are dozens of scientific questions addressed by this research that are entirely "moral" with benefit towards vaccines and prevention. Plus much more.
 
 
+2 # AndreM5 2011-11-29 10:34
The scientists did not "weaponize" the virus as the silly title editor states. They tested it to see how vulnerable we are to its mutations and to find possible avenues to neutralize it. Weaponization is something politicians do. They weaponize all sorts of things including habanero peppers and Newton's Laws of mechanics, right?
 
 
0 # feloneouscat 2011-11-30 09:35
The headline is a bald face lie. H5N1 was not weaponized.
 
 
+2 # Nominae 2011-11-30 15:02
Quoting AndreM5:
The scientists did not "weaponize" the virus as the silly title editor states.


Why is RSN running so many articles in which even writers can't write anymore. This inane title is bad enough, but to quote further from the article itself:

"But their are fears the modified virus is so dangerous it could be used for bio-warfare, if it falls into the wrong hands."

"their are fears"? The author obviously means "there are fears", but didn't bother to edit past spell check which would not catch this. Readers typos and rampant misspelling in comments is one thing, but it's really getting tiring when we can't get articles by writers who can actually do their job. Just sayin'
 
 
+11 # Aussieken 2011-11-29 01:36
So sorry - who are the bad guys again?
 
 
+5 # peluche 2011-11-29 01:54
Why the need to invent destructive agents instead of constructive ones? No dought the inventor is going to set up world peace prize to exonorate himself for waht he contributed to "humanity" ... if there will be anyone left!!
 
 
+2 # feloneouscat 2011-11-30 09:39
Quoting peluche:
Why the need to invent destructive agents instead of constructive ones?


"The research by the Kawaoka and Fouchier teams set out to answer a question that has long puzzled scientists: Does H5N1, which rarely causes human disease, have the potential to trigger a pandemic?"

It is constructive - by understanding what the trigger is, you have a better chance of preventing a pandemic.

Note: NOTHING WAS WEAPONIZED - I went and reviewed two other articles (one by Science and the other by Scientific American). This headline is a lie.
 
 
+1 # AndreM5 2011-11-30 12:04
We seem to have done the same objective research on the topic. Think for yourselves, people!
 
 
+4 # noitall 2011-11-29 01:59
Insane! Many people wish that they could put the nuclear genie back into the bottle after they pulled the stopper. No such luck.
 
 
+3 # mwd870 2011-11-29 06:50
Serious and scary. Maybe this group of innovative scientists could test their bioweapon on themselves - in a quarantined place. Use it all and burn the research.

Of course, another group will just come up with something worse.
 
 
+1 # feloneouscat 2011-11-30 09:40
Quoting mwd870:
Maybe this group of innovative scientists could test their bioweapon on themselves


Except there is no bioweapon. Please read the following:

http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2011/11/scientists-brace-for-media-storm.html?ref=hp
 
 
+11 # lobdillj 2011-11-29 07:02
It is wishful thinking to say "...if it falls into the wrong hands". The honest and accurate phrase is "...when it falls into the wrong hands".
 
 
+1 # feloneouscat 2011-11-30 09:42
Have you ever read a paper on genetics? Here is an example by one of the researchers:

http://www.columbia.edu/itc/biology/pollack/w4065/client_edit/readings/science293_1840.pdf

Now, tell me that this is a blueprint for terrorists?
 
 
+1 # lobdillj 2011-11-29 07:09
And another thing... The article states, "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."

This is not the whole story. The unstated presumption is that openness will benefit mankind, but there are some scientific investigations that can only lead to disaster if pursued.
 
 
+5 # Granny Weatherwax 2011-11-29 07:43
Science sans conscience n'est que ruine de l'âme.
As François Rabelais put it, science without conscience is but the ruin of soul.

These guys could accidentally (althtough their research is not accidental) kill millions if not billions and they want to publish so that others could do it.
How is that for terrorism?
Let's label them terrorists and use extraordinary rendition, now.
 
 
+3 # gussie 2011-11-29 08:45
Human ego knows no limits including mass destruction of humankind and all life forms. It's all around us now. This is one more technique
of biological warfare. We have many more.
 
 
+2 # fredboy 2011-11-29 09:16
So now the "bad guys"--includin g every black government operation on the planet--know who these guys are and where to find them. The cat--or in this case the ferret--is out of the bag.

Cough. Cough.
 
 
+2 # panhead49 2011-11-29 10:07
We really are the dumbest critters on this planet.
 
 
+2 # jwb110 2011-11-29 13:44
Quoting panhead49:
We really are the dumbest critters on this planet.


Darwin had it wrong. The human race is DE-evolving. We'd be a whole bunch better if if we had stayed monkeys!
 
 
+1 # CandH 2011-11-29 11:08
"Columbia University's Long War--Columbia U's variant of the Hertog-funded strategic studies program, the aforementioned Hertog Global Strategy Initiative had its start in '10 under the direction of the Yale alumnus and former Gaddis student, the historian Connelly.

Varying from the GSPs elsewhere, Columbia's is a summer program only. The first year's session, in 2010, focused on "Nuclear Proliferation and the Future of World Power" and was co-taught by Connelly and University of Texas at Austin's Francis Gavin. THE SUMMER 2011 SESSION FOCUSED ON "THE HISTORY AND FUTURE PANDEMIC THREATS AND GLOBAL PUBLIC HEALTH." The projected session for summer 2012 will focus on "Religious Violence and Apocalyptic Movements.""
(caps mine.) (http://therealnews.com/t2/component/content/article/108-more-blog-posts-from-allen-ruff/814-how-private-warmongers-and-the-us-military-infiltrated-american-universities)

And here we are noting that there are actual PAID scientists who "...created a man-made flu virus that could potentially wipe out civilization." Who paid them exactly?

And we read here, "Both papers are now being reviewed by the U.S National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB)." Um-hm...
 
 
0 # treetalker 2011-11-29 12:57
The information regarding this research should be treated as a deadly virus. The entire team of scientists, and anyone having access to their work process, or have come into contact with them, should be quarantined from all contact with the world,for life . Additionally, all evidence of their work should be destroyed.

I agree with fredboy that "the ferret is out of the bag" but a message needs to be delivered to the mad scientists of this
world.
 
 
0 # michelle 2011-11-29 20:46
Shades of the British TV series, 'Survivors'. Big pharma makes a vaccine that backfires and causes a deadly strain of flu killing 99% of the population. Atwood's latest book, 'The Year of the Flood,' postulates a similar scenario. Atwood's new book makes the 'Handmaid's Tale' look like a romance novel, very dark.

If you give the military industrial complex a new toy, weaponized flu, you know they are going to want play with it.
 
 
0 # USA2012??? 2011-11-29 22:21
Why would anyone create such a virus, besides arrogance and stupidity?
 
 
+1 # feloneouscat 2011-11-30 08:52
WHAT A STUPID ARTICLE!

Go here for some rational, non-RED-ALERT reading:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=next-influenza-pandemic

RSN had done the community a real disservice with this article. First, it falsely argues that these people are "weaponizing" H5N1 which is NOT what they are doing.

Japan is a signatory of the Biological Weapons Convention which prevent research into offensive employment of biological agents. The red flag in this alleged "news story" is University of Tokyo.

Do some research - Japan is NOT pro-biological weapons.

Second, I talked to my spouse, who has a Masters in Public Health and works for the state. This kind of work is done all the time to determine how viruses change and mutate.

Finally, the Scientific American article NEVER says that it was weaponized. In order to weaponize it you need:

1. A delivery system
2. A storage system
3. A vaccine

And a few more steps. After all, it makes no sense to make something that kills friend and foe alike. It violates the whole point of warfare.

This article is far more informative with less terror-handwavi ng: http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2011/11/scientists-brace-for-media-storm.html
 
 
+1 # feloneouscat 2011-11-30 09:09
The Paul Keim quote also appears to be taken out of context. See:

http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2011/11/scientists-brace-for-media-storm.html?ref=hp

Where it appears he is talking about the UNMODIFIED H5N1 virus, not the modified version.

Now WHY did they do the research - "The research by the Kawaoka and Fouchier teams set out to answer a question that has long puzzled scientists: Does H5N1, which rarely causes human disease, have the potential to trigger a pandemic?"

Something that was CONVENIENTLY LEFT OUT of the Daily Mail article (I guess because they couldn't make it fit into a single sentence?).

Being scientifically illiterate is no excuse for publishing rubbish you don't understand. These people aren't working with dangerous organisms because they are arrogant or stupid. They are trying to resolve problems and answer questions. The end goal is to PREVENT a pandemic, not cause one.

The Daily Mail is not the best news source (I would put it alongside Fox, personally).
 
 
+1 # Nominae 2011-11-30 15:07
@ feloniouscat

Thank you for that last sentence. It really does explain a LOT !
 

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