'Stupidly Dangerous' Research on H5N1 Virus to Resume

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posted on Jan, 24 2013 @ 05:23 AM
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I heard about this last night on the BBC World Service.

It seems that scientists were horrified about a year ago when a Dutch lab working with a lab in Wisconsin claimed to have created a version of the H5N1 (bird flu) virus that would impact humans. The research was put on lock down due to the significant danger it posed. However, in a recent letter to the Science and nature Journals a group of scientists have announced that they are about to resume their research - claiming that their labs operate to the highest safety standards.

Today's BBC article gives a full background to the story - including the reasons for the moratorium on the research. Quite understandably one of the reasons was that terrorists may get hold of the info and.......

Their letter to the journals claims that 'Because H5N1 virus transmission studies are essential for pandemic preparedness and understanding the adaptation of influenza viruses to mammals, researchers who have approval from their governments and institutions to conduct this research safely, under appropriate biosafety and biosecurity conditions, have a public-health responsibility to resume this important work. Scientists should not restart their work in countries where, as yet, no decision has been reached on the conditions for H5N1 virus transmission research. At this time, this includes the United States and U.S.-funded research conducted in other countries.

Oxford University's Prof. Robert May (former President of the Royal Society) has said that the risks hugely outweigh the benefits calling their plans 'stupidly dangerous'. He states that these facilities always over estimate the efficacy of their safety procedures and that over 1000 people have been infected from labs 'with the highest standards'.

Prof. May also states that there is a possibility that the 1977 H1N1 pandemic came from a Russian research facility.

What do I think? I think these 40 scientists are motivated by personal financial gain in the short term. I agree with Prof. May that the risks completely outweigh any benefits these scientists claim they may reap from their research.....and I shudder at the consequences should it all go wrong. Sod's Law isn't it - if it can go wrong it WILL go wrong.



edit on 24-1-2013 by christina-66 because: (no reason given)
edit on 24-1-2013 by christina-66 because: (no reason given)




posted on Jan, 24 2013 @ 05:39 AM
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I wonder who they test this stuff on?



posted on Jan, 24 2013 @ 05:39 AM
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Well then...

WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE


Seriously though, this is pretty dangerous...and while it is important for scientists to be ahead of the curve in understanding this stuff, it is pretty stupid to be resuming something which has the potential to get out of hand, and will most probably do so if one worker forgets safety standards.



posted on Jan, 24 2013 @ 05:47 AM
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reply to post by daaskapital
 


This kind of story just bring home the fact that our downfall will be most likely at our own hands (and with the best of intentions). A lab accident is far more likely to occur than nuclear war given the MAD deterrent has kept all our governments in check.



posted on Jan, 24 2013 @ 06:06 AM
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"Because H5N1 virus transmission studies are essential for pandemic preparedness and understanding the adaptation of influenza viruses to mammals, researchers who have approval from their governments and institutions to conduct this research safely..."

The scary part to me is this applies to any preparation. So is this standard procedure?...to intentionally mutate virus's for mammalian transmission? O.o

edit on 24-1-2013 by Lucid Lunacy because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 24 2013 @ 06:14 AM
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Scary stuff...but don't you have to have a live virus in order to actually find a cure? A computer model wouldn't cut it as it would remain theoretical.

I hope nothing like “The Stand” takes place.



posted on Jan, 24 2013 @ 06:18 AM
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I bet the minimum wage workers at the lab are looking for new jobs today. McDonald's might even be preferable. And the security at this site better be more than your local cop-wannabe duffus in a real-mans uniform.



posted on Jan, 24 2013 @ 06:21 AM
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reply to post by TDawgRex
 


Yes well the thing is they never had a virus to find a cure for until they created it. Apparently the global science community was horrified when these guys said they had produced a virus which specifically targeted humans - up until that point H5N1 affected birds only. (Only a very few humans were affected)

I think this action is following the first rule of marketing - 'create the problem and then provide the solution'.



posted on Jan, 24 2013 @ 06:23 AM
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reply to post by Lucid Lunacy
 


I don't think it is standard procedure - and that's why these scientists have been condemned by their own peers.



posted on Jan, 24 2013 @ 06:28 AM
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Originally posted by christina-66
reply to post by TDawgRex
 

(Only a very few humans were affected)

I think this action is following the first rule of marketing - 'create the problem and then provide the solution'.


You could be right. But you also say only a few humans were affected. It is well known that a lot of virius's mutate upon entering a new host.

First a few, then a few more, then more until you have a pandemic on your hands with no vaccine.

Not that I really trust vaccines all that much.
Oh, I've had them and am relatively healthy, but after researching the ingredients in some, they scare me as much as the viruses almost.



posted on Jan, 24 2013 @ 06:41 AM
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reply to post by TDawgRex
 


I'm no scientist but I did hear Prof. May being interviewed last night - if someone of his standing (and he doesn't stand alone) has such serious concerns over this, so do I. You don't have to be a scientist to see the potential pitfalls.



posted on Jan, 24 2013 @ 06:42 AM
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To add my two cents...I've felt for a long time there is only one truly SAFE place on Earth to study and work with this material and that's Antarctica. It's the only place on our planet where there is 100% certainty that NOTHING escaping the lab can survive to reach the outside world. 100% certain. Not 99.9999% based on man made systems of containment that "can't" fail.....but nature creating an environment for as far as anyone could ever want or ask that simply cannot support even bacterial life in the open air.

It would be enormously inconvenient to the scientists working with the most dangerous nightmares man has ever seen or thought up...but I really don't care what is handy or helpful to them, if that means securing their work 100% certain.

I wouldn't even risk the coastline. There is maritime life and, in some areas, penguins. They did nothing to become vectors of doom. I'd pick a site as deep into the interior as possible for a stable region in terms of geology. As stable as AA ever gets, anyway. THEN...added to that, an intermediate way-station all humans must go through in leaving the labs for a mandatory quarantine and observation period at an entirely new location between the lab and McMurdo.

Problem solved.... Now they can work on anything they like to their heart's content ..and the only lives lost when they screw it up will be their own.
edit on 24-1-2013 by Wrabbit2000 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 24 2013 @ 07:03 AM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 


Star for your solution - makes sense to me. I find it especially concerning that this work will be resumed in a few weeks in the Netherlands. It's only a hop skip and a jump away.

Knowing their plans is useful insofar as the public, as well as the science community, can voice their concerns and keep them on their toes.....or......if H5N1 does start rearing its ugly head in the human population we will know exactly who to hold responsible.



posted on Jan, 24 2013 @ 07:21 AM
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Originally posted by christina-66
reply to post by daaskapital
 


This kind of story just bring home the fact that our downfall will be most likely at our own hands (and with the best of intentions). A lab accident is far more likely to occur than nuclear war given the MAD deterrent has kept all our governments in check.

yeah well its been said for some time now that the road to hell is paved with good intentions



posted on Jan, 24 2013 @ 07:36 AM
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Ideologically, everything should be experimented on and understood as much as possible, all the time.

Realistically, if you have to say "trust me, I know what I'm doing" to the scientific community, you probably don't know what you're doing.

I'd say yes, do the research, but don't let anyone do it unless there is a major positive consensus among the community regarding the institution's capabilities.



posted on Jan, 24 2013 @ 09:02 AM
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As much as the thought of this "accidentally" getting out is pretty scary, I think it would be interesting to be personally involved in the process of experimenting with the virus.... it's risky though, does the prospect of a cure outweigh the risk of a large number of us being wiped out? Oddly I'm not entirely sure of the answer myself, however I understand peoples fairly quick and justified answer; no it's not worth it. Will there be financial gain if a cure is found and is that the main reason for taking these risks? Of course but that's how the world works, altruism is pretty much impossible to find.



posted on Jan, 25 2013 @ 10:02 AM
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Highest security or not all it takes is one microscopic tear, or puncture of their hazmat suites for the material to leave the lab. One cell getting through to a trained, licensed lab technician/scientist is all it takes for this brand new strain of virus to go from their "perfect lab" to the outside world. Human error always remains the number one problem in these types of situations, always. The most secure systems in the world are always jeopardized by the people that use them, more than a flaw with in the system.



posted on Jan, 25 2013 @ 01:06 PM
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Originally posted by Hijinx

Highest security or not all it takes is one microscopic tear, or puncture of their hazmat suites for the material to leave the lab. One cell getting through to a trained, licensed lab technician/scientist is all it takes for this brand new strain of virus to go from their "perfect lab" to the outside world. Human error always remains the number one problem in these types of situations, always. The most secure systems in the world are always jeopardized by the people that use them, more than a flaw with in the system.


You're not wrong there Hijinx, here's an interesting video describing how Boston University officials actually covered up an outbreak of biological weapons agent in the city...it doesn't mention which one but god knows what they're experimenting with.




Jonathan King Professor of Molecular Biology at MIT also makes some revealing comments here (around 6:30) about the inherent dangers of the U.S. Government setting up biological weapon laboratories in heavily populated civilian areas (like Boston) and describes some quite disturbing accounts of mismanagement within the 'industry'.



posted on Jan, 25 2013 @ 07:46 PM
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Originally posted by SiliconLifeForm
As much as the thought of this "accidentally" getting out is pretty scary, I think it would be interesting to be personally involved in the process of experimenting with the virus.... it's risky though, does the prospect of a cure outweigh the risk of a large number of us being wiped out? Oddly I'm not entirely sure of the answer myself, however I understand peoples fairly quick and justified answer; no it's not worth it. Will there be financial gain if a cure is found and is that the main reason for taking these risks? Of course but that's how the world works, altruism is pretty much impossible to find.


If a cure is found? There has never ever been any cure found for the flu. Ever. What cure?



posted on Jan, 27 2013 @ 02:45 AM
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Originally posted by thebtheb

Originally posted by SiliconLifeForm
As much as the thought of this "accidentally" getting out is pretty scary, I think it would be interesting to be personally involved in the process of experimenting with the virus.... it's risky though, does the prospect of a cure outweigh the risk of a large number of us being wiped out? Oddly I'm not entirely sure of the answer myself, however I understand peoples fairly quick and justified answer; no it's not worth it. Will there be financial gain if a cure is found and is that the main reason for taking these risks? Of course but that's how the world works, altruism is pretty much impossible to find.


If a cure is found? There has never ever been any cure found for the flu. Ever. What cure?

You make a good point and that's another thing to put into consideration however you will never know if there's a cure or not if you don't look for one. But maybe your right there's a good chance a cure will never be discovered.





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