The flu virus above is capable of wiping out millions of people at one shot
Scientists who developed a deadly strain of bird flu to help create vaccines have been told their research is a terrorist threat. Dutch researchers have for the first time been able to mutate the H5N1 strain of avian influenza so that it can be transmitted easily through the air.
Previously it was thought that H5N1 bird flu could only be transmitted between humans if they came into very close physical contact. The team of scientists at the Erasmus Medical in Rotterdam were hoping their work would help with the development of drugs and vaccines to counter mutations of the disease.
But the groundbreaking investigation may never see the light of day amid fears that it could be used to develop a biological weapon.
there are fears the modified strain of the virus is more dangerous than anthrax.
At the time, virologist Ron Fouchier admitted the strain is ‘one of the most dangerous viruses you can make’ but is still adamant he wants to publish a paper describing how it was done.
The findings had been due to be published in the American journal Science, but the U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity is now reviewing the paper to assess whether it should be blocked from publication.
One senior scientific advisor to the U.S. Government was last night quoted as saying ‘The fear is that if you create something this deadly and it goes into a global pandemic the mortality and cost to the world could be massive. The worst-case scenario here is worse than anything you can imagine.’
The mutated virus is being stored under lock and key in a basement building at the center in Rotterdam, but is without armed guards.
Dr Fouchier, who led the study, said that by experimenting on ferrets, whose immune system is very similar to humans, it is possible to create a highly-infectious strain through just a few mutations.
The decision on whether the findings should be published has divided academics as well as security specialists.
Thomas Inglesby, of the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh, in Pennsylvania, told the New Scientist: ‘The benefits of publishing this work do not outweigh the dangers of showing other how to replicate it.’
Some critics have said that the research should never have been carried out because there is a risk that the dangerous form of flu could escape from the laboratory.
But Dr Fouchier defended the experiment, saying: ‘We know which mutation to watch for in the case of an outbreak and we can then stop the outbreak before it is too late. Furthermore, the finding will help in the timely development of vaccinations and medication.’
A second team of independent researchers at the universities of Wisconsin and Tokyo have carried out a similar study and are thought to have found similar results, which shows how easy it is to create a more contagious strain.
Just imagine…instead of being inconvenienced with the flu for a few days, you can become a victim of narcolepsy and be unable to function for the rest of your life. And the best part? The CDC recommends giving this poison to babies as young as six months old.
Step right up and gets yours today!
A 15-year-old girl is reportedly falling asleep up to 30 times a day after getting a flu shot. Chloe Glasson began suffering from narcolepsy four months after being injected with Pandemrix, a vaccine to combat against swine flu, in November 2009. She is one of at least 100 people to suffer from the sleeping disorder after getting vaccinated with Pandemrix.
“She has gone from being a bright, outgoing girl to one who cannot go out on her own,” Rebecca Glasson, Chloe’s mother, told News Limited. “She doesn’t doze for more than a couple of hours at a time, but she can have disturbing dreams.”
Chloe Glasson will begin a new treatment of the specialist drug sodium oxybate at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh, U.K., in hopes to get back to a normal sleeping pattern.
“I am putting a lot of faith in the treatment,” Chloe told News Limited. “While the tablets won’t cure me, they may offer the chance of a more normal life.”
GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer behind Pandemrix, said in a statement they are researching how narcolepsy is reportedly triggered for some by the drug.
“Patient safety is our number one priority and we are researching how narcolepsy is triggered and how this vaccine might have interacted with other risk factors in affected individuals,” they told News Limited in a statement. “We hope ongoing research efforts will enable us to provide more answers.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends flu vaccinations for Americans older than 6 months. source – CBS