Killer Flu Virus Made In Lab Could Be Terrorist Weapon Of Mass Destruction
Written by Jamie Stowe| Tuesday, 29 November 2011| There are 2 comments
It sounds like something out of a movie but in this case it really is true! A team of scientists have managed to create a killer influenza virus which has the potential to completely wipe out the human race if it was ever released into the environment!
The virus is a genetically modified version of the already deadly H5N1 bird flu strain but has been altered to make it much more contagious and therefore with the ability to quickly spread around the world. The H5N1 bird flu virus has killed over 50 percent of those people who contract it but its damage potential is limited by the fact that while it is easily spread among birds it is unable to do the same with humans.
At present is only possible to contract the H5N1 bird flu virus by being in very close proximity to infected birds for long periods of time. Typical cases involve children in third world countries who play with infected chickens and other poultry. It has killed around 500 people so far.
This new genetically modified H5N1 bird flu virus was created by making five simple but frighteningly deadly mutations to the existing virus. There are concerns that should this virus fall into the wrong hands it could be used as a terrible weapon to destroy civilisations.
The new virus was created by a team led by Professor Ron Fouchier a leading virologist from the Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands. They used ferrets to test the virus on because they have extremely similar respiratory tracts to humans and thus have the same likelihood of picking up influenza viruses.
Professor Fouchier said that he would be publishing a research paper to show exactly how he had modified the virus but some people felt that this was extremely irresponsible because it would help terrorists and rogue nations to get their hands on a weapon potentially much more dangerous than any nuclear bomb.
According to the United States National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) this new deadly H5N1 bird flu virus is more dangerous than anthrax and thus they are reviewing the methods by which it was created. The research paper may have to be censored which will ignite the debate about whether scientific discoveries should be shared. Some people argue that being able to create a virus like this also enables scientists to research possible anti-viral medications and vaccines.
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