virus

Swine Flu Smoking Gun? CDC was Combining Flu Viruses in 2004

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 by: Sherry Baker, Health Sciences Editor
Tags: swine flu, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) Last week, when what is now called a "swine flu" was first reported to be infecting and killing some people in Mexico, health officials noted it was a strain of flu never before seen. In fact, it is technically incorrect to call this simply a "swine" flu. Analyses showed it's a mixture of swine, human and avian viruses, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Moreover, it is genetically different from the fully human H1N1 seasonal influenza virus that has been circulating globally for the past few years. Bottom line: the new flu virus contains DNA from avian, swine viruses (including elements from European and Asian viruses) and human viruses.

So did this curious mixture just develop naturally, out of the blue? Is it the result of inhumane farming practices, as the Humane Society of the United States (http://www.hsus.org/) has suggested, that exposes immune-compromised pigs to all sorts of animal and human feces?

Well, maybe. But let's go back and look at the facts to see if any other scenario could be possible.

First of all, there's the troublesome detail that the virus has elements that come from multiple continents. Then there's the fact that true swine flu is only rarely transmissible to humans -- this flu is spreading human-to-human, most likely because it contains DNA from human flu.

Could someone have deliberately mixed these viruses together? Is that possible? Absolutely.

Was this virus mixing being done artificially in the lab, or had it already been done? Yes.

Who was blending potentially swine, human and/or avian viruses in labs? Were those horrible generic boogie men known to Americans far and wide as "terrorists" doing it? There's no proof of bioterrorism at work here yet. However, there is evidence the United States government has been working on concocting new flu virus blends.

So could the hysteria-provoking, new swine flu have escaped from a lab? Or was it deliberately released as some kind of test? When these kinds of questions are asked, the knee-jerk reaction of the mainstream media (MSM) is to giggle and talk about "conspiracy theories" and to joke about wearing tinfoil hats.

But here's the potential smoking gun, the facts that suggest a potential source of the pandemic could be CDC labs. And at the very least, this possibility deserves thoughtful examination and research.

The University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) is hardly a place most Americans have heard about and, apparently, the Center's web site has news the MSM isn't familiar with, either. But information they published years ago has now taken on an urgent importance. CIDRAP, along with the Canadian newspaper Canadian Press (CP), revealed back in 2004 that the CDC was launching experiments designed to mix the H5N1 (avian) virus and human flu viruses. The goal was to find out how likely it was such a "reassortant" virus would emerge and just how dangerous it might be. Of course, it's logical to wonder if they also worked with the addition of a swine flu virus, too.

Here's some background from the five-year-old report by the University of Minnesota research center: "One of the worst fears of infectious disease experts is that the H5N1 avian influenza virus now circulating in parts of Asia will combine with a human-adapted flu virus to create a deadly new flu virus that could spread around the world. That could happen, scientists predict, if someone who is already infected with an ordinary flu virus contracts the avian virus at the same time. The avian virus has already caused at least 48 confirmed human illness cases in Asia, of which 35 have been fatal. The virus has shown little ability to spread from person to person, but the fear is that a hybrid could combine the killing power of the avian virus with the transmissibility of human flu viruses. Now, rather than waiting to see if nature spawns such a hybrid, US scientists are planning to try to breed one themselves -- in the name of preparedness."

And CDC officials actually confirmed the government had plans for the research. The CIDRAP News folks did a great job covering this important issue, which was apparently mostly ignored by the MSM back in 2004, and CIDRAP News wrote to the CDC for information. This e-mail produced an answer from CDC spokesman David Daigle who admitted the CDC was working on the project in two ways. "One is to infect cells in a laboratory tissue culture with H5N1 and human flu viruses at the same time and then watch to see if they mix. For the human virus, investigators will use A (H3N2), the strain that has caused most human flu cases in recent years," the CIDRAP story stated. This co-infection approach was described as slow and labor-intensive. However, it was a way to produce a new virus that appeared to be closer to what develops in nature.

There was another, faster way CDC scientists could create the mix, too. Called reverse genetics, it involves piecing together a new virus with genes from the H5N1 and H3N2 viruses. Reverse genetics had already been used successfully to create H5N1 candidate vaccines in several laboratories, the CDC's Daigle wrote. "Any viable viruses that emerge from these processes will be seeded into animals that are considered good models for testing how flu viruses behave in humans... The aim will be to observe whether the animals get sick and whether infected animals can infect others," he revealed in his e-mail.

What's more, the CP reported the CDC had already made hybrid viruses with H5N1 samples isolated from patients in Hong Kong in 1997, when there was the first outbreak of that virus, dubbed the "Hong Kong flu". It is not clear if the results of that research were ever published. Back in 2004, Dr. Nancy Cox, then head of the CDC's influenza branch, would tell the CP only: "Some gene combinations could be produced and others could not."

The CP's report noted that the World Health Organization (WHO) had been "pleading" for laboratories to do this blending-of-viruses research. The reason? If successful, these flu mixes would back up WHO's warnings about the possibility of a flu pandemic. In fact, Klaus Stohr, head of the WHO's global flu program at the time, told the CP that if the experiments were successful in producing highly transmissible and pathogenic viruses, the agency would be even more worried -- but if labs couldn't create these mixed flu viruses, then the agency might have to ratchet down its level of concern.

The 2004 CIDRAP News report addressed the obvious risks of manufacturing viruses in labs that, if released, could potentially spark a pandemic. However, the CDC's Daigle assured the Minnesota research group the virus melding would be done in a biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) laboratory. "We recognize that there is concern by some over this type of work. This concern may be heightened by reports of recent lab exposures in other lab facilities," he told CIDRAP. "But CDC has an incredible record in lab safety and is taking very strict precautions."

Five years later, we must ask more questions. Were those safety measures enough? Was the CDC creating or testing any of these virus mixes in or near Mexico? What other potentially deadly virus combinations has the US government created? Don't US citizens, as taxpayers who funded these experiments, have a right to know? And for all the residents of planet earth faced with a potentially deadly global epidemic, isn't it time for the truth?

For more information:
"New flu is a genetic mix", http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/...

"CDC to mix avian, flu viruses", http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/inf...

"CDC to conduct avian flu pandemic experiements", http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/...


About the author

Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA's "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine's "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic's "Men's Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.

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