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American scientists controversially recreate deadly Spanish Flu virus

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posted on Jun, 11 2014 @ 08:24 PM
Does the benefits outweigh the risks? If this accidently or purposely gets out it could be catastrophic. This is creating an extinct virus that killed 50 million people. Here's the arguments for and against.

The extinct influenza virus that caused the worst flu pandemic in history has been recreated from fragments of avian flu found in wild ducks in a controversial experiment to show how easy it would be for the deadly flu strain to reemerge today.

Scientists said the study involved infecting laboratory ferrets with close copies of the 1918 virus – which was responsible for the Spanish Flu pandemic that killed an estimated 50 million people – to see how easy it can be transmitted in the best animal model of the human disease.

But other researchers have denounced the research as foolhardy and dangerous. Critics said that any benefits of the attempts to recreate 1918-like flu viruses from existing avian flu strains do not justify the catastrophic risks if such a genetically engineered virus were to escape either deliberately or accidentally from the laboratory and cause a deadly influenza pandemic.

However, Professor Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin-Madison dismissed the criticisms of his research saying that it is necessary for the development of influenza vaccines and other countermeasures designed to minimise the risks of a future flu pandemic.

“These critics fail to appreciate the precautions and safeguards built into our work, the regulation, review and oversight these studies receive….The risks of conducting this research are not ignored, but they can be effectively managed and mitigated,” Professor Kawaoka said.

“We know studies like ours advance the field and help those responsible for making decisions about surveillance and pandemic preparedness [to] base decisions on scientific fact, rather than conjecture. Therefore our research provides important benefits that cannot be achieved by other means,” he said in an email to The Independent.

I still don't know what benefits we will be getting from creating an extinct flu virus. This sounds like Scientist doing this because they can and then convincing themselves that the benefits outweigh the risks. Here's other Scientist commenting on this.

“Like many of the recent ‘gain-of-function’ studies, this one created a novel virus that is likely both transmissible and virulent in humans,” said Marc Lipsitch, professor of epidemiology at Harvard University.

“This is a risky activity, even in the safest labs. Scientists should not take such risks without strong evidence that the work could save lives, which this [study] does not provide,” Professor Lipsitch said.

Robert Kolter, professor of microbiology at Harvard Medical School, said: “The scientists doing this work are so immersed in their own self-aggrandisement, they have become completely blind to the irresponsibility of their acts. Their arguments in favour of such work, i.e. increase ability for surveillance, remain as weak as ever.”

Simon Wain-Hobson, a virologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, said: “The work doesn’t offer us much. The risk of escape is small but non-zero. I do not see such benefits, so on balance we are worse off.”

What do you think?

posted on Jun, 11 2014 @ 08:30 PM
What could go wrong?
It's not like they're cross-breeding killer bees, or something stupid like that'''

posted on Jun, 11 2014 @ 08:47 PM
They must have designed a vaccine for that. Now they can use the spanish flu as a selling point for their vaccines. "The virus has reappeared again from an unknown source, not from the facility that was recreating it".:devil

I'm still not getting my flu shot.

posted on Jun, 11 2014 @ 08:53 PM
Hmmm, I wonder if its got anything to do with this

Its on the job boards now. Are they trying to scare us into getting vaccinated?

posted on Jun, 11 2014 @ 09:39 PM
scientists recreate deadly Spanish Flu virus,,,

That sounds like the beginning of an apocalypse movie. I will be on the lookout for zombies.

posted on Jun, 11 2014 @ 10:28 PM
although i think that it is a very asinine to play with something like this they didn't recreate the same strain.
from the OP's link.

Scientists said the study involved infecting laboratory ferrets with close copies of the 1918 virus

We found genes in avian influenza viruses quite closely related to the 1918 virus and, to evaluate the pandemic potential should such a 1918-like virus emerge, identified changes that enabled it to transmit in ferrets,” he said.
The 1918 virus was recreated from eight genes found in avian flu viruses isolated from populations of wild ducks. Using a technique known as “reverse genetics” the scientists rebuilt the entire virus so that it was 97 per cent identical to the 1918 strain, known from viruses recovered from frozen corpses, according to the study published in the journal Cell Host and Microbe.

97% is pretty damn close but it is still not the same viruses. for all they know they may have created one that is even more deadlier than the 1918 virus. harder to kill, i mean genes coming from 8 strains.

then on the other hand it may be even easier to kill being that they know the eight strains it comes from and more than likely what works on each of those.

any case still a stupid move.

posted on Jun, 12 2014 @ 05:04 AM
Some scientists just love to stroke their ego, especially when money is involved.

Still not getting my flu shot and if I get this virus and their is a cure I will still not get it out of spite.

posted on Jun, 12 2014 @ 07:11 AM
a reply to: neoholographic

I read this on skynews earlier and straight thought 'wtf' & 'one for ATS' .

If this thing gets out somehow, well... there will be major deaths... I just hope that Lab is well protected and no extremists can gain access!

Also, I might add... as long as this is kept in the Lab and they can find some 'cure' out of their meddling, then it will be a good thing if this type of Flu was ever to resurface.

But In all honesty, I think it's madness.
edit on CDTThu, 12 Jun 2014 07:15:18 -0500u3007x118x1 by TruthxIsxInxThexMist because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 12 2014 @ 08:32 AM

originally posted by: neoholographic
...I still don't know what benefits we will be getting from creating an extinct flu virus...

I think one benefit would be that if the flu ever naturally re-emerged (and that possibility is mentioned in the article), then they would have a head start in trying to combat it.

I mean, if this flu re-emerged, and people were dying, and their excuse for not having done any previous studies into a cure was "well, we thought is was extinct, so we just ignored doing any research", then they would be criticized for not being pro-active.

Having said that, I'm still aware that something unforeseen could go wrong.

edit on 6/12/2014 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 13 2014 @ 03:08 PM

What do you think?

I think that some bioterrorists are salivating and likely already working on getting someone inside the facility, if not already there, so this ends up on the black market. Blend in a rabies variant and voila! Instant zombie apocalypse!

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