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NEWS: CDC May Allow Broader Access To 1918 Flu Virus

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posted on Nov, 10 2005 @ 02:03 PM
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The American CDC has had an apparent change of policy that will allow scientists broader access to the 1918 Spanish Flu virus, prompting fears that the virus may escape. Concerns have also been raised that labs outside the USA which are not bound by select agent rules, may obtain the virus. The reasearch into the newly constructed virus has created a security and safety problem according to the director of the Sunshine project, Edward Hammond. Some scientists now believe with the new raised security fears, that the virus should not have been recreated. The CDC has said that are not planning to ship the virus at this point.
 



www.ajc.com
The long-lost virus --- which killed an estimated 50 million people around the world in 11 months --- was reconstructed earlier this year in a high-security biotech lab at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta with the help of research teams from New York and Washington.

When the CDC announced the re-creation Oct. 5, Director Julie Gerberding said the agency would not share the virus with other research teams unless they agreed to work in the CDC's Atlanta labs.

Now, however, the CDC may have changed its mind. The journal Nature reports today that the agency has agreed to send the virus to labs that take appropriate biosafety precautions and register under the federal government's "select agents" program, which sets rules for handling dangerous organisms and potential bioterror agents.

In a separate editorial, Nature warns: "The 1918 flu virus is hard to contain and is capable of spreading rapidly between people. . . . The threat of an accidental release is real."

But the reconstructed virus's listing as a select agent, which occurred Oct. 20 in the Federal Register, might open the way to sharing the virus.

"If there are requests to obtain the virus, they will be taken on a case-by-case basis," Roebuck said. "We will ask, How is this advancing science?"

Dr. C.J. Peters, director for biodefense at the University of Texas Medical Branch's Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases --- and former head of the CDC's Special Pathogens unit, which operates agency labs with the highest biosecurity level, dubbed BSL-4 --- said sharing the virus under select agent rules might provide the best means of control, given that the viral "recipe," its genetic sequence, has been published.

"If you put it under select agent rules, you have control over its movement and over who works with it," he said. "If you didn't make it a select agent, and just tried to keep it at the CDC, people would make it on their own."

Some analysts said the concern over increased access proves the virus should never have been made.



Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


In another report fears are being raised over the Spanish Flu virus being sent to scientists by mail. www.nature.com... < subscription Only.

The need to know versus the risk factor. In this case I think they should have let sleeping dogs lie.

[edit on 10-11-2005 by Mayet]




posted on Nov, 10 2005 @ 02:20 PM
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Good find Mayet.


...I am not certain what I think about this. IMO - it is essential to compare the genetic structure with other known flus and pathogens - the comparison may lead to better understanding of how microbes evolve, and identify common misfolded proteins (like "a-smooth muscle actin" and related strains) - which could in turn help us better deal with disease. No doubt this virus is dangerous - but so are many. many things in our world. And apparently, we created the really bad stuff. I don't even want to talk about nanoparticles right now.



posted on Nov, 10 2005 @ 02:44 PM
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Nice job
Perhaps this will give us better insight into the current, deadly strain. Sometimes it takes studying the past in order to better predict the future.



posted on Nov, 10 2005 @ 02:55 PM
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Its the part where the virus will be sent or possibly go to other places that I feel concern over.

I believe that one or two teams of international scientists should go to the facility where it is held and brainstorm the examination of the virus and make all findings public worldwide instead of allowing the virus into more than one location.



posted on Nov, 10 2005 @ 03:31 PM
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Originally posted by dotgov101
Nice job
Perhaps this will give us better insight into the current, deadly strain. Sometimes it takes studying the past in order to better predict the future.


I agree. However, it is also true that studying the past can, inadvertently, create a repeat of the past.



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