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Virologists Engineering H5N1 Flu Virus to Make it More Deadly to Humans
by Barbara Minton
(The Best Years in Life) Two Dutch virologists are deliberately trying to re-engineer the H5N1 virus. Their goal is a flu virus that will be much more virulent and deadly to humans than the original version. They claim their research is aimed at vaccine development and the betterment of mankind, but 56 leading scientists have now voiced their opposition against this research, primarily for fear that the mutated virus could escape the laboratory either accidentally or purposefully. Author and political commentator G. Edward Griffin questions what forces with lots of money would risk a global deadly flu pandemic, and suggests it could be the same companies that are developing a must-have vaccine against it. If he is correct, billions in profits will be made on the backs of human misery and death.
The Dutch researchers claim the new mutations in H5N1 they are developing in their laboratory, which enable H5N1 to become airborne and transmissible between ferrets (which are mammals) and people, has already been seen in nature.
What is the H5N1 flu?
H5N1 is a highly pathogenic avian (bird) flu virus that has caused serious outbreaks in domestic poultry in parts of Asia and the Middle East. Highly pathogenic refers to the viruses' ability to produce disease. Although the original H5N1 virus does not usually infect humans, nearly 600 cases of human H5N1 have been reported from 15 countries during in the last ten years. Most of these cases have occurred in people who had recent contact with sick or dead poultry that was infected with the H5N1 virus. About 60% of people infected with the virus died from it.
Other research has documented that despite their receptor binding affinity, the original circulating H5H1 virus retains molecular determinants that restrict its spread among humans and other mammals. There have been no reported H5N1 infections in birds, poultry, or people in the U.S. You cannot become infected with H5N1 from properly handled and cooked poultry or eggs. The only reason the original H5N1 is considered highly pathogenic, is because it is so deadly to poultry.
Prestigious scientists line up against a form of H5N1 deadly to humans
The U.K. Independent is reporting that 56 senior scientists from 14 countries, including three Nobel laureates and several fellows of the Royal Society have written to the European Commission to denounce the claims of the researchers that boosting the strength of the H5N1 virus by experimenting with its use in ferrets is necessary for the development of new flu vaccines and anti-viral drugs. This group also seeks to correct untrue statements made by the president of the European Society of Virology, Professor Giorgio Palu, who they claim made incorrect assertions to inflate the appearance of need for carrying out the researcher in a letter previously sent to the commission.
The Dutch government has claimed the development of mutations needed to make H5N1 airborne and transmissible between ferrets or other mammals including humans has a dual civil-military function and would be needed in case of bioterrorism. Professor Palu has said that the Dutch researcher's "gain of function" experiments were designed to see what mutations are necessary to enable the H5N1 to be transmissible between mammals in order to make better vaccines and drugs.
The Independent quotes Palu as saying, "It has to be mentioned that, in this specific case, the 'gain of function' was used to reproduce what nature already selected (as demonstrated by sequencing of field mutants) with the variation that the aim of the study was to predict/anticipate biological evolution and to provide us with critical information to specify preventive and therapeutic measures." But the 56 scientists have clearly stated that this assertion is incorrect and presents a false impression about the medical need to undertake such a dangerous research mission.
"The sole purpose of the experiments in question was to generate H5N1 viruses that could be transmitted between mammals as readily as seasonable flu via respiratory droplets," said the scientists quoted in the Independent.
Furthermore, "Despite intensive field surveillance conducted by national health authorities, government agencies, local and regional disease surveillance networks in Southeast Asia and elsewhere over a period of 18 years, there is no evidence that efficiently mammalian transmissible H5N1 viruses have ever emerged naturally in the wild," they say. This suggests there has been no such natural selection as the Dutch researchers claim.
The scientists also warn that the potential for accidental release of such a lab created hazardous pathogen is real, not hypothetical, as demonstrated by actual release events in laboratories working with other high threat pathogens.
The accidental or purposeful release of such a pathogen could be globally catastrophic.
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