Here’s your feel-good post of the day: evidently some scientists in the Netherlands have been reading some of the same novels as me, and decided to try to re-create the conditions that led to the events in the books. According to the London Daily Mail:
A group of scientists is pushing to publish research about how they created a man-made flu virus that could potentially wipe out civilisation.
The deadly virus is a genetically tweaked version of the H5N1 bird flu strain, but is far more infectious and could pass easily between millions of people at a time.
The current strain of H5N1 has only killed 500 people and is not contagious enough to cause a global pandemic.
But their are fears the modified virus is so dangerous it could be used for bio-warfare, if it falls into the wrong hands.
Virologist Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands lead a team of scientists who discovered that a mere five mutations to the avian virus was sufficient to make it spread far more easily.
The research done was part of an international drive to understand H5N1 more fully.
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.
By all means. Heck, maybe he should mail a copy of it to al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and North Korea, just to make sure they don’t miss it among their usual reading material of People and Vanity Fair.
Paul Keim, chairman of [the U.S National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity], said: ‘I can’t think of another pathogenic organism that is as scary as this one. I don’t think anthrax is scary at all compared to this.’
You know, an idea this good should have a rockin’ soundtrack. I have just the thing: