Doomsday Flu Development Sparks Publishing Controversy
Technology Articles 11/27/11
By: Chris Capps
It's finally happened after decades of research. And it turns out the flu virus developed from H5N1 may (or may not) be deadly enough to wipe out civilization if it ever got out of control. And now the recipe for how scientists achieved this doomsday strain might be published pending a review by the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity. Has science gone too far this time? And why were people developing a deadly flu virus like this in the first place?
It turns out the most deadly flu virus in the world has been created by tweaking only a few key genetic components. And now as the research paper is being proposed to be published, some are advising that these findings could be too dangerous to fall into the wrong hands. As a result, a question of public safety is coming up in the public. The idea is, if the research were carried out by a nefarious group with the intention of using it to release the super virus it could wipe out half of civilization. With the stakes this high, some are proposing that the secrets of the virus are too dangerous to release.
So what will we find in the near future? What will the proposed purpose be of such a deadly virus? One of the reasons institutions develop viruses such as these is to develop vaccines for them in case the more likely ones ever find a way to mutate and devastate humanity. The publishing of the virus would be a means for other researchers to attempt to develop a vaccine long before the death toll reached the millions of people it might affect. Already the proposed death toll of the virus is being run away with by the media who are suggesting it could wipe out half of all civilization, but before we lose our heads over the possibilities of the virus, we should remember the fear over Swine Flu and Bird Flu - both viruses which turned out to be far less deadly and communicable than previously thought.
On the other hand, those were both viruses that were created by evolution rather than just being the most devastating virus imaginable. This new strain, which required only a few simple mutations could prove more deadly simply because it was not engineered by the environment to survive as long as possible, but as a nightmare made reality that must be prepared for. If it were to be released into the population we cannot predict - good or bad - how it would spread or if it would prove anywhere near as dangerous as some are fearing. Of course we still have the devastation of the Spanish Flu in history books, giving some doctors reason to be concerned for the well-being of the populace. And while it may prove to be nowhere near as dangerous as once thought in the long run, the idea of a deadly virus engineered in a lab is certainly a bit close to several horror movie plots for comfort.
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