Insanity in “Science” – Bird Flu Researchers Push To Make Virus More Contagious

1984, anyone?

Excerpt from transcript:
(find audio link and full transcript at Boston’s NPR website

JEREMY HOBSON, HOST: Well, one way some scientists say they can prevent the spread of this new strain of avian flu is to make it even deadlier so they can study it. Carey Goldberg, health reporter here at WBUR, joins us to talk about that. And, Carey, before we get to what the scientists are trying to do, why does it seem like – whether it’s H5N1 or H7N9 – that the avian flu will not go away?

CAREY GOLDBERG, BYLINE: Well, it’s because the threat just keeps on looming, Jeremy. I mean, it’s not my favorite topic, these sort of potential bird flu pandemics that could sweep humanity and kill millions, but it is a real threat. And researchers say that it has happened before, that there have been strains of flu that crossed from birds and created epidemics in humans. And they’re just very concerned that it could happen again on a global scale now that we live a global life.

HOBSON: Well, so tell us about this news today of a debate among scientists about creating more dangerous avian flu viruses for research purposes.

GOLDBERG: Right. It seems counterintuitive. But today, what these scientists are saying – these are some leading avian flu researchers – and they are publishing a public letter in the two most prestigious American science journals, Nature and Science. And they’re saying that they think it’s really important that they go ahead and work on modifying this new virus, H7N9, that we were just hearing about from Dr. Horby to make it even more dangerous, more resistant to drugs and more easily transmitted. And they call this gain-of-function research…

And now for a bit of sanity…
CONFRONTING PANDEMIC INFLUENZA: JUST DON’T LET IT START – find this slide show at http://www.thewif.org.uk/home/shortridge_thailand_2008.pdf

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