Bird flu virus recipe published - Macleans.ca
 

Bird flu virus recipe published


 

When scientists create the equivalent of a nuclear bomb in the form of a flu virus at a research lab, what happens to their findings? After months of a debate that pitted bio-security experts against influenza researchers, the scientific journal Nature answered the question by publishing highly anticipated and controversial research led by Yoshihiro Kawaoka at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Using genetic manipulation, Kawaoka and his team created a strain of the virus of the bird flu virus, which caused a pandemic in 2009. The new strain can be passed through the air between ferrets, the closest animal to humans currently used by scientists in flu-transmission research. The first hints of Kawaoka’s work emerged last year, along with details of similar research led by Ron Fouchier at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, whose research is yet to be published at the journal Science.

The two studies led the U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) in November, to ask Nature and Science to refrain from publishing parts of the research over fears that terrorists could develop bio-weapons. Researchers in the scientific community argued the studies would help develop a vaccine against the virus and improve tracking of its spread in real-life circumstances.

The editor in chief of Nature explained the publication of the controversial research, saying that censorship of academic research was problematic.

From the BBC:

Speaking for the first time on the issue, Dr Campbell said that the current process for establishing whether medical research should be censored was “very, very problematic”.

“If we are to go down the censorship route, how do you decide which researchers should get the sensitive information? And how can you realistically ensure that once it is in a university environment that it won’t go further?”

 

 


 
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Bird flu virus recipe published

  1. Ladies & Gentlemen, I give you exhibit 12 as to why attempting to fight terrorist activities is a losing battle. With advances in science, bio-terrorism is going to become increasingly cheap and easy to accomplish. Attempting to fight it means keeping the possible weapons secret, but keeping the weapons secret means it’s more difficult to develop counter-measures so if some terrorist does get hold of the secret, we’re screwed.

    We need to fight terrorism at its source, we need to deal with the poverty and oppression that terrorists are reacting against. The way to do that is to take half of every dollar that we currently spend on anti-terrorist activities, from Homeland Security to military adventurism, and devote it instead to providing easy access to education for people in the poorest lands as well as very low-cost business development loans for individuals in those countries.

    • If you google “what motivates a suicide bomber”, you might find that they are politically motivated by “humiliation, revenge and altriusm”, rather than poverty and oppression. They want to make a statement and have not found a legally satisfying way to do so. I was suprised to learn that people often resent being the receipients of handouts from a rich and ultimately, more prestigious relatives who always give well-meaning advice along with the cash. Thus foreign aid isn’t always well received by third world countries when it comes from the always richer, always superior, USA…especially if they put caveats on how the aid is to be spent. It is a very complex issue.

      • Very good. Now think hard. Humiliation from what? Perhaps from being unable to support themselves? Revenge for what? Why might they not have a legally satisfying way to make a statement? Could that be because oh.. I don’t know.. they’re being oppressed? Had you replaced the words “rather than” with “because of” you’d have had a reasonable point there. Of course, it would have been the same one I already said but at least being redundant is a step up from wrong.

        As for your non sequitur about resentment, I completely agree. And if anybody had been talking about putting caveats on the aid, you’d even have a reasonable point.

        As it is, however…

        • If you actually read the research you could have saved yourself the sarcastic reply. You are assuming that poverty and oppression are driving terrorism and also that financial aid is a solution. I am just pointing out that the research suggests that resentment related to a perception that western ideals are being shoved down their throats are really what is is fuelling terrorism and an anti-western sentiment. If, as you suggest oppression and poverty was the cause of terrorism then the suicide bombers would have targetted their Taliban oppressors.
          As for your claim that no caveats were to be put on the aid that you stated would go so far to stem future terrorism, you yourself suggested that aid should be earmarked for “education for people and lowcost business development. loans”. How is that not telling them how to spend the money?
          Now, as much as I appreciate you ALWAYS reminding me to THINK, Thwim. I prefer not to count on preconceived notions and do a little research.

          • Too bad you still don’t use your brain. You’re the only one who’s talking about giving them money.

            I’m saying give them loans and open up educational opportunities. Neither of which requires we give them a red cent. It requires, instead, that we be willing to adjust our own systems over here so that they can take advantage of them.

  2. “Bird flu virus recipe published”… what kind of lazy reporting is this? There is no “recipe” published anywhere. Even the page you link to keeps it vague by saying it combines “7 genes”, leaving it purposely vague. If the actual paper does have a “recipe” then you should have mentioned that instead of just posting a sensationalized title like this to get easy views on a useless article.