Why do we think that we need to tinker with living things? Scientists in Rotterdam, Netherlands have taken the H5N1 virus and have made it MORE contagious. ‘Just a few mutations were all it took to make the virus go airborne.’ (The Houston Chronicle, December 27, 2011) Seriously? We need this virus to be MORE contagious?
What is more upsetting is that our government ‘paid for the research.’ What is that about? Why would our government want to genetically engineer a virus so that more people would be at risk? ‘Some biosecurity experts have said that no scientist should have been allowed to create such a deadly germ in the first place, and they warn that not just the blueprints but the virus itself could somehow leak or be stolen from the laboratory.
The naturally occurring A(H5N1) virus is quite lethal without genetic tinkering. It already causes an exceptionally high death rate in humans, more than 50 percent. But the virus, a type of bird flu, does not often infect people, and when it does, they almost never transmit it to one another.
The experiment in Rotterdam transformed the virus into a supergerm of virologists’ nightmares, enabling it to spread from one animal to another through the air. The work was done in ferrets, which catch flu the same way people do, and are considered the best model for studying it.’
“This research should not have been done,” said Richard Ebright, a chemistry professor and bio-weapons expert at Rutgers University who has long been opposed to such research. This seems like such common sense. What is our government thinking? It appears a reckless thing to do. Who in his right mind would want to make a virus MORE contagious, more lethal? I could argue no one, but then what would that say about our government, who funded this research?
Until next time,