How many times have you seen this plot in a movie? Scientists toy around with a killer virus that accidentally escapes the lab and goes on to decimate humankind.
According to a number of prominent scientists recently, such a scenario isn’t as far-fetched as many of us would probably like it to be.
Steve Connor reported in The Independent (UK) last Friday:
Some of the world’s most eminent scientists have severely criticised the arguments used by some influenza researchers who are trying to make the H5N1 bird-flu virus more dangerous to humans by repeatedly infecting laboratory ferrets.
More than 50 senior scientists from 14 countries, including three Nobel laureates and several fellows of the Royal Society, have written to the European Commission denouncing claims that the ferret experiments are necessary for the development of new flu vaccines and anti-viral drugs…
The signatories of the letter, who include eminent virologists, microbiologists and vaccine experts, as well as Nobel laureates Sir Richard Roberts, Harald zur Hausen and Richard Ernst, warned that there is a serious risk of an accidental release of a pandemic H5N1 virus from laboratories undertaking such research.
“The potential for accidental release of a hazardous pathogen is real, not hypothetical, as demonstrated by an alarming increase in the number of potential and actual release events in laboratories working with high-threat pathogens,” they say.
“We are in a situation where the probabilities of a laboratory accident that leads to global spread of an escaped mutated virus are small but finite, while the impact of global spread could be catastrophic,” they add…
(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)
“As demonstrated by an alarming increase in the number of potential and actual release events in laboratories working with high-threat pathogens.”
Haven’t heard too much about this supposed increase in potential and actual “release events.”
Somewhat disturbing, if you ask me.
For those of you who don’t know, H5N1 is an avian (bird) flu virus. From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website Flu.gov:
H5N1 is a highly pathogenic avian (bird) flu virus that has caused serious outbreaks in domestic poultry in parts of Asia and the Middle East. Highly pathogenic refers to the virus’s ability to produce disease. Although H5N1 does not usually infect humans, nearly 600 cases of human cases of H5N1 have been reported from 15 countries since 2003.
By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)
Connor, Steve. “’Untrue statements’ anger over work to make H5N1 bird-flu virus MORE dangerous to humans.” The Independent. 20 Dec. 2013. (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/untrue-statements-anger-over-work-to-make-h5n1-birdflu-virus-more-dangerous-to-humans-9018666.html). 23 Dec. 2013.
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