Subscribe (free)
About NaturalNews
Contact Us
Write for NaturalNews
Media Info
Advertising Info

Scientist deliberately 'militarizes' flu strain in deadly bioterrorism experiment

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: bioterrorism, flu strain, health news

Most Viewed Articles
Popular on Facebook
(NaturalNews) For years, health officials from around the world have been warning that the H5N1 avian flu virus, which is currently not a threat, will one day mutate into a deadly, pandemic strain. But now their predictions -- or warnings, depending on how you look at it -- could come true, as a European scientist has genetically altered H5N1 to effectively spread between mammals.

NPR reports that Dr. Ron Fouchier from Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands announced at a recent flu conference in Malta that he had discovered a way to make the avian flu virus more contagious. By deliberately modifying the virus' genes, Dr. Fouchier was able to induce H5N1 transmission between ferrets, which represent the animal model typically used to study flu transmission between humans.

So in case you missed it, a virologist has deliberately altered the deadly H5N1 avian flu virus to become more transmissible between mammals -- and he has done so in the name of studying the nature of the virus and, according to NPR, "what it is capable of." Never mind that in its native state, H5N1 is incapable of doing much at all on a global scale. Now that it has been purposely altered, the virus could eventually have devastating global consequences should it ever be released into the wild.

"It's just a bad idea for scientists to turn a lethal virus into a lethal and highly contagious virus," said Dr. Thomas Inglesby, a bioterrorism expert and director of the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, concerning the experiment. "And it's a second bad idea for them to publish how they did it so others can copy it."

Though Dr. Fouchier has not yet published his findings in a scientific journal, he very well could in the near future. In response to an NPR inquiry as to whether or not he intends to publish the study, Dr. Fouchier allegedly told NPR via email that he refused to comment until a National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity committee decides whether or not to recommend that the study be published.

In defense of publishing sensitive studies of this nature, Lynn Enquist, editor in chief of the Journal of Virology, told NPR that it is necessary in order to "be prepared" for how the virus might evolve and spread.

Sources for this article include:

STAY INFORMED! Free subscription to the Health Ranger's email newsletter
Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Your privacy is protected. Unsubscribe at any time.
comments powered by Disqus

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.