Mad Science: Bird Flu Experiment Insane

Remember the whole bird flu scare of a year or two ago?  We dodged that bullet, so what are scientists doing now?  You guessed it:  creating a new strain of the avian flu virus that can jump from species to species.  And this is supposedly in the name of protecting our health?  Really, scientists, isn’t there some cure for disease you could be working on?

Previously there was concern that the H5N1 virus would jump between birds to infect humans.  And, when we were warned about a possible pandemic, scientists agreed on a moratorium to prevent the creation of new strains of this virus…to prevent any new strains from passing from birds to humans.  Yet here they are only one year later…trying to CREATE a new strain of this virus.  Scientists are changing the H5N1 avian flu virus in the lab to make it transmissible between mammals through “respiratory droplets”—in this case ferrets.  According to the news reports, Dutch virologists will be attempting to understand how the bird virus could spread through the air to humans.  News reports suggest that the experiments will begin in weeks.

The same research was considered a biosecurity threat only a year ago.  Now, we’re supposed to believe that it is in our best interests?  I don’t think so.

On its own the H5N1 virus occasionally infects individual humans but thankfully it doesn’t seem to spread between people.  By working on a new more transmissible version of the virus, scientists worldwide will be watching to see if the virus mutates and acquires that ability.  Isn’t that like crashing a plane to see if people could survive a plane crash?  I’m not convinced that this is the best use research money.  And it certainly doesn’t sound ethical to me.  And a year ago it didn’t sound ethical to the scientific community who agreed to the voluntary moratorium on such research either.

Just because scientists have the capacity to do something doesn’t mean they should do it.  Why are they encouraging the proliferation of pathogenic strains that could potentially harm humans?

What do you think?  Do you think scientists should be altering the bird flu virus to make it transmissible to mammals through the air?

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93 comments

Autumn S.
Autumn Away S3 years ago

Thank you!

Mari Garcia
Mari Garcia3 years ago

I am interested that this article does't bother to go into why it's being done. I am very skeptical of articles that put scientific research along the lines of fear-mongering. We have too many people who are against science because they don't understand it, and shame on anyone who claims to be educated adding fuel to the fire. Furthermore, what is your PhD in? From what I can tell, all you studied was holistic medicine and "natural" diets/lifestyles.

Karen Perkins
Karen Perkins3 years ago

I agree with those who say it's really too complex a subject to be adequately reported on in such a small article. I will say that I DON'T think that power-hungry business or mad scientists or corrupt governments are trying to cook up a new bug to take over the world. But I think creating new strains of any virus is a waste of resources and a potential danger. Sure, it MIGHT mutate naturally in the way science mutated it in labs. Then again, it might not. If it doesn't... well, we've spent our time and money creating something that could potentially get out and harm society. If it does, of course, we are one step ahead but I often wonder if science frequently doesn't do things just to see if they can - and then justify it by finding a humanitarian reason for it. I can't stress enough that I am not a scientist and the article is blatantly biased but I don't think we should invent diseases, or strains of diseases, for any reason. We've got enough to deal without creating more.

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Mary L.
Mary L3 years ago

The miserable flu of this year is an H1N1 variant. How did you not know this?

Marg T.
Margaret Tyrell3 years ago

Oh good, more flu, just when I was afraid we were running out of it.

greenplanet e.
greenplanet e3 years ago

Fascinating

Magdika Cecilia Perez

thank you

Magdika Cecilia Perez

thank you

Terry V.
Terry V3 years ago

noted