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Why are scientists resurrecting long-extinct deadly viruses?

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posted on Nov, 30 2007 @ 02:53 AM
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There they go, those bad naughty scientists, playing God again.

Seems they're trawling the human genome for the genetic relics of long-extinct viruses that all but wiped our ancestors out. When they find some, they put them back together and, Frankenstein-like, bring them back to life in the lab!

That's right, folks. As if you and your family didn't already have enough diseases to plague you, scientists at The Institut Gustave Roussy, the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center and elsewhere are now hard at work bringing back deadly plagues from the past!

Why are they doing this? And who is behind it? The work is international - could it be a global conspiracy of some sort? Population control? The final coup of the New World Ordure? The Ultimate Directive from our Reptilian masters?

Read all about it here (warning: it's a long article, but fascinating). Then tell ATS what you think about it all on this thread. I, for one, will be waiting eagerly to read your views.




posted on Nov, 30 2007 @ 03:09 AM
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Smallpox concerns me more than almost any other disease. There are rumors of weaponized versions that have a super long incubation period so that it can infect the maximum number of hosts. I am not vaccinated for smallpox, as most other younger Americans.

Thank you for the link. Great questions raised!



posted on Nov, 30 2007 @ 04:22 PM
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I went through that entire article. It sounds like fascinating research. There are some absolutely astounding implications, both good and bad. On one side, we will learn a lot about how species evolve and how to treat viruses and maybe even things like genetic engineering. On the negative side, this could be used as a weapon, whether deliberately (terrorism) or accidentally (laboratory mistake releases it). Assuming that every possible precaution is in place, and that the knowledge is used in a way to help people, I am in favour of this research. I just hope that they are really, really careful...



posted on Nov, 30 2007 @ 09:28 PM
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No, no, no, it is not the scientists, it is the illegal aliens that are spreading these diseases that were once under control.


One hundred years ago, immigrants on Ellis Island coming into this country legally would be turned away for things as small as a cavity.

Now we see multitudes of illegals coming into this country and practically being welcomed with open arms. They bring diseases and receive free heath care too, what a deal.



posted on Dec, 1 2007 @ 07:10 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 


I've read through the entire article as well, and my thoughts mirror that of DragonsDemesne word for word -- he posted it before I could


I'm wondering what Jazzerman's take on this is. Have you sent him a U2U, Asty?



posted on Dec, 1 2007 @ 07:24 AM
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The ONLY possible reason for experimenting on diseases which have already been wiped out is one word...

WEAPONS

There is no logical reason for otherwise experimenting on these organisms/viruses....

No person in their right state of mind can legitimise such research unless turning these biological agents into weapons fits into their "right state of mind"...

Peace


Dae

posted on Dec, 1 2007 @ 07:31 AM
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Read the 8 pages sir! Fascinating stuff and Ive been saying for a while now that viruses are the instigators of most human activity. OK, so the article puts forth the idea that viruses are responsible for the placenta and womb births.

So, what about who we are? Imagine finding the virus for Christianity! Or compassion? What if all that we are is a biological construct for viruses? The article states that most of 'junk' DNA are remnants of old viruses - so what if the rest of the not junk stuff are the successful viruses; the blue-eyed virus hehe!

It would explain the ego-centric view we all seem to have - the universe orbits our world... if that was the viruses speaking then yeah they are right!



posted on Dec, 1 2007 @ 08:05 AM
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Originally posted by Beachcoma
I'm wondering what Jazzerman's take on this is. Have you sent him a U2U, Asty?

I have. And to Melatonin as well.

I'm a bit disappointed at the slow response by the general ATS membership, though.


Dae

posted on Dec, 1 2007 @ 08:16 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax

I have. And to Melatonin as well.


Wellll... ya didnt U2U me! It would be cool if we had a sophisticated thread alert system for friends though.



posted on Dec, 1 2007 @ 08:17 AM
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Originally posted by Dae
So, what about who we are? Imagine finding the virus for Christianity!

Some of us would argue that religion is a virus. It wouldn't be hard to construct a just-so story explaining how that came about. I offer the idea to any budding SF writers viewing this thread.

But you're not far wrong, Ma'am. It may be that the 'junk DNA' isn't so junky - it may not code directly for proteins, but perhaps it affects other aspects of cellular life.

Anyway, if you go back far enough, the early replicators were probably not a lot different in form from modern viruses and the process of elaboration by which they evolved probably included a lot of parasitization, so yes, you may be able to say with truth that they made us what we are - indeed, made all life what it is.

Then again, consider mitochondria. Single-celled parasites that have long since integrated with their hosts and become symbiotes or something even more intimate.

It's a complicated subject and there are all kinds of possibilities. Maybe resurrecting some of these extinct viruses will enaable us to fill in a bit more of the picture.


Dae

posted on Dec, 1 2007 @ 08:28 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
Some of us would argue that religion is a virus.


I dunno you know, a mental virus yeah but an actual one? With a "cure"? Wow, I do wonder if you rid the human body completely of viruses what would be left? Would we all be the same? Do viruses give us our identities and permutations to appear like an individual? Oooo creepy!



posted on Dec, 1 2007 @ 01:12 PM
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The Glory Bug


Originally posted by Dae

Originally posted by Astyanax
Some of us would argue that religion is a virus.

I dunno you know, a mental virus yeah but an actual one? With a "cure"?

Why not? The virus reproduces by hijacking and destroying brain cells the way all viruses do, but it's very specialized. It only attacks cells in some specific part of the brain, say the part that builds context out of sensory stimuli (you know, the bit that puts together the signals from our sense-receptors and builds up the picture of what we call reality). When the virus has killed off enough of these cells - it happens by the age of six or seven - the brain ceases to interpret sensory stimuli rationally, or experiences hallucinations, or both. In consequence it creates a supernatural context for perceived reality - it develops, in other words, a religious (irrational, bogus) interpretation of reality.

Vaccinate your children now!



posted on Dec, 3 2007 @ 11:31 PM
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Well, actually there is another reason aside from weapons use. If you want to only see it that way, fine with me.
For medical reasons, seeing the fragments of viruses left in our DNA and how our ancestors adapted to the virus would help us in finding new treatments and cures for current virus.



posted on Dec, 3 2007 @ 11:35 PM
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Google "dead microbiologists" and see what you come up with.



posted on Dec, 3 2007 @ 11:43 PM
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Even if they plan on doing this research for the good of mankind, I am curious how they think they can keep it out of the hands of the people who would like to weaponize it? It is kind of a catch 22. If the govt thinks it has something really powerful and they want it bad enough, they can get it.

Just let the good scientists do all of the leg work, while thinking they are saving mankind. Then steal it and use it to destroy mankind.



posted on Dec, 4 2007 @ 12:52 AM
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With global warming, many virus' that have been dormant in frozen tundra regions could, possibly, become reactivated. If this were to occur, mankind might be exposed to varying strains of disease that, although ancient, might be quite "new" to this generation of humanity.

While there might be some efforts underway to "weaponize" these ancient virus', it is also prudent to investigate these virus' to determine their virulence in humans and, most importantly, to develop new vaccines against them. Research into these bacteria and virus' might also be beneficial in determining the evolutionary processes that have resulted in our current roster of diseases.

Again, yes, there is probably quite a bit of research being done to evaluate these old strains of contagion for their possible use in warfare but I would guess that most of this sort of work is being done to understand current diseases and to help develop vaccines to eliminate any future dangers to mankind.



posted on Dec, 4 2007 @ 12:34 PM
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I apologize for not responding to this thread sooner Astyanax et al. I have been very busy the past few months with World AIDS day, the US Conference on AIDS, etc. and have been feeling a little lethargic of late. Anyhow, back to the topic at hand...

I tend to think of this issue in terms of that which any researcher probably would. I understand why people think this could be used as a potential weapon of sorts, but I tend to disagree that the motive behind this research is sinister. In fact, to somewhat prove this just take a look at modern day applications of extinct viruses. Some viruses found in the family of Tetraviridae such as Helicoverpa Armigera stunt virus (HaSV) have effectively been used as a biopesticide against Cotton Bollworm, thus reducing the need for potentially harmful chemical application as a means of pesticide. Another virus in this family called Nudaurelia Beta virus was once thought to be completely extinct, but is now being used to help the survival and non-destruction of pine trees from damaging insect larvae. Not only can this eliminate the need for insecticides and pesticides on a large scale, but + stranded ssRNA viruses like Nudaurelia Beta will only infect certain species with this particular one having a domain of Eucarya and Arthropoda. The host range vectors for this virus appear to be quite small and the molecular RNA hybridization process also seems to be in line with other known viruses found in Tetraviridae, which significantly reduces the risk of human infection.

This is not to say that an extinct virus is not capable of causing widespread destruction upon re-entry into a host genome, but there are just to many factors that have to be accounted for in order to weaponize them. To give another example, several factors (at the very least) would have to be met as follows:

1. The taxonomy of the virus would have to be known to the full extent, which given the extremely difficult task of doing so for long dead viruses would take a minimal amount of years to complete. For instance, if the virus were a Bacteriophage it would not be able to infect mammals, and obviously negate the possibility of using it as a weapon

2. Next would be the task of identifying if it's genome were RNA or DNA based. This is not such a hard task, but would be pertanent to understanding the infectability rate of the virus as it could be one of the following:
a. Double Stranded DNA with intermediate lifecycle
b. Positive-sense ssDNA
c. Double Stranded RNA
d. Positive-sense ssRNA
e. Negative-sense ssRNA or dsRNA
f. Positive-sense ssRNA
g. Positive-sense dsRNA with intermediate lifecycle

3. Another obstacle would be to conclude that surface glycoprotein structures on the capsid could allow human cellular receptors to bind with the viral proteins.

4. Cross-species infectibility of the virus and mode of transmission. As most viruses do not survive when exposed to less than optimal conditions it would easily stand to reason that only certain conditions would allow the virus to be communicable (ie. saliva, rain droplets, blood, etc.).

Etc.

All of the above points would have to be completely determined before the re-introduction of a virus would become viable either for medical purposes or for weaponization. I personally believe that this area of research may lead to better and more effective means of treatment such as Bacteriophage therapy and gene therapy. Not only that, but it could help Immunologists develop better antiviral medications that go beyond Nucleoside analogues, Protease Inhibitors, Interferon proteins, and others which come with less than ideal side effects.

[edit on 4-12-2007 by Jazzerman]



posted on Dec, 4 2007 @ 11:57 PM
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reply to post by Jazzerman
 

All true, Jazzerman, but the article cited in my OP refers specifically to viral relics found in the human genome. Though many are also found in the genes of our simian cousins; these are very, very old viruses.



posted on Jun, 7 2009 @ 10:56 PM
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I have to admit, this is an excellent find. Although I think the reasons behind it are far less nefarious than people might think, the possibilities of this research in the wrong hands are frightening.

Thank you for posting it.



posted on Jun, 8 2009 @ 09:05 AM
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Originally posted by NRA4ever333
I have to admit, this is an excellent find. Although I think the reasons behind it are far less nefarious than people might think, the possibilities of this research in the wrong hands are frightening.

Thank you for posting it.


If one scientist can succesfully resurrect a virus, another scientist on the other side of the globe should be able to as well. I say its good to be prepared by knowing how a specific virus will affect us and how to deal with it. But even that said, if those viruses are dead it must be because humans learned to defeat them through evolution so I don't think a breakout will cause much harm.

On a side note, viruses are not living organisms, so no one is playing God here.

[edit on 8-6-2009 by daniel_g]



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