Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/8/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

No, this is not a bad comic book plot, it's real.

It appears that a mad scientists is at work in the Netherlands, and he plans to create an ultra-deadly strain of an avian flu virus. This isn't science fiction, but rather science fact. Ron Fouchier of Erasmus University in the Netherlands plans to create a more powerful version of the deadly H7N9 bird flu virus.

The plan is to learn more about the virus by making it deadlier.

The plan is to learn more about the virus by making it deadlier.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/8/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: virus, Fouchier, flu, strain, gain of function, Erasmus University, H7N9, bird flu, mad scientist


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Ron Fouchier of Erasmus University in the Netherlands plans to create a more deadly strain of the H7N9 bird flu virus, one that can be more easily transmitted from person to person.

Fouchier is working with a team of scientists from around the world, including the U.S., Hong Kong, and Britain. His team plans to genetically alter the virus in a process called "gain of function research."

By enhancing the virus, they hope to learn more about it and its capabilities.

Fouchier has been in the spotlight before. In 2011, he engineered an easier-to-spread strain of H5N1 bird flu. His work prompted an ethical outcry and delayed the publication of his research over concerns  that others could duplicate his work for nefarious ends. His work was eventually published.


The biologist told the Associated Press, "We cannot prevent epidemics or pandemics, but we can accumulate critical knowledge ahead of time."

Despite his noble goal, Fouchier has vocal critics who say his work is too dangerous to permit,

So while Fouchier can create such a virus, the question is, should he?

Fouchier hopes that by announcing his work in advance, he can stave off critics. He says the work can even help workers to identify deadly strains of the disease before they become widespread. In this way, pandemics can even be prevented before they have the chance to infect many people.

However, his lab is playing with a deadly virus and is making it deadlier. Ethical concerns are well-founded.

Scientists have worked for decades to develop increasingly powerful versions of diseases for use as biological weapons. This research has typically occurred in ultra-secure or remote settings with specialized security precautions including armed guards.

Only recently has such research threatened to move into the mainstream laboratory. Notably, in 1978, a young photographer, Janet Parker, died in a British hospital after contracting smallpox which was being handled in a university laboratory where she was working. 

Since then however, improved technology and safety measures have made working with dangerous pathogens in the laboratory mush easier and safer, but there is always risk. Moreover, there is the risk that the knowledge can be used by someone with evil intent.

While Fouchier and his colleagues are not mad scientists bent on creating apocalypse. Then again, neither were the scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project either.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Health

HIV cases in Indiana spike to unprecedented levels causing a public health emergency Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There has been an outbreak of HIV infection in Indiana, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With a small population in Scott County of only 4,200 residents, the rise of HIV cases to 142 has alarmed health officials, calling it a ... continue reading


HELP ON THE WAY? Malaria vaccine found to cut cases in half - lives of children could be spared Watch

Image of The vaccine, called RTS,S is the first malaria vaccine to reach advanced trials. Tests on 15,500 toddlers and babies in sub-Saharan Africa have been completed.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new "jab" - or vaccination against malaria could prevent millions of cases and save the lives of millions of children in developing nations, scientists claim. The vaccine, completed the final stages of testing, could make a "substantial contribution" to ... continue reading


HUNG OVER? Try the ancient Egyptian cure - of a garland of laurel leaves Watch

Image of Written in Greek, the cure advises stringing together the leaves of the Alexandrian Laurel and wearing it like a necklace.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There may be a reason behind all those surviving artworks of drunken, ancient Roman revelers wearing garlands about their heads. In a stash of more than half a million documents unearthed in an ancient trash heap in the Egyptian town of Oxyrhynchus in 1896, the ... continue reading


ALTERING EMBRYOS: China becoming 'Wild West' in genetic research Watch

Image of Used in adult cells and animal models, the technique had previously never been used in connection with human embryos.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Critics warn that China is swiftly becoming the "Wild West" of genetic research. Researchers at the Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou have confirmed they had engineered embryos to modify the gene responsible for the fatal blood disorder thalassaemia. The team ... continue reading


Surgeon claims controversial head transplant will take less than an hour Watch

Image of Surgeon Sergio Canavero said that he would explain the procedure in depth at a neurosurgeons' conference this coming June 12.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Italian surgeon Sergio Canavero says that he can reattach a man's head on to a new body in less than an hour. Canavero says that the procedure is just the first step in a series of steps towards his ultimate aim of creating immortality. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


'If I Only Had a Brain': MRI technology gives an amazing inside look into a singing brain Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Researchers from the Beckman Institute investigated how various muscles and other connected body parts work to allow us to speak and sing, and the changes that happen over time. Analyzing how the human voice works and the variations it undergoes at age, a former ... continue reading


Behind the heroic act: The heartbreaking story of the youngest organ donor in Britain Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Teddy Houlston would have celebrated his first birthday this year with his family and twin brother. But he was not able to live for an entire day; baby Teddy was diagnosed with a condition called anencephaly within twelve weeks inside his mother's womb. Heartbreaking ... continue reading


Listeria outbreak in Blue Bell Creameries, causing them to recall all products, started in 2010 Watch

Image of According to CDC's investigation, they made comparisons with the patients dating back 2010 up to the current outbreak.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Based on the investigation made by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the listeria outbreak in Blue Bell Creameries, that has caused them to recall all of their ice cream, started back in 2010. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The Blue Bell Creameries ... continue reading


Taking a multivitamin for your health? 'Healthy' multivitamins may increase risk for certain diseases by more than 50 percent Watch

Image of New research suggests that taking some commonly used multivitamins may actually be very harmful to your health.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Multivitamins have long been a staple of what many would call a "healthy" lifestyle, and the market for these pills is flooded with products that target every single demographic including post-menopausal women, teens, bodybuilders and diabetics. However, new ... continue reading


'Turbo-charging' immune system to kill all known cancers in development Watch

Image of Scientists at Imperial College London, who led the study, are now developing a gene therapy based on the protein and hope to begin human trials in three years.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A protein which "turbo-charges" the immune system, enabling it to fight off any cancer or virus, has been discovered by scientists. Described as a "game-changer" for cancer treatment, researchers at Imperial College in the United Kingdom have found a previously ... continue reading


All Health News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 11:1-18
1 The apostles and the brothers in Judaea heard that ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 42:2-3; 43:3, 4
2 I thirst for God, the living God; when shall I go ... Read More

Gospel, John 10:1-10
1 'In all truth I tell you, anyone who does not enter ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 27th, 2015 Image

St. Zita
April 27: St. Zita was born into a poor but holy Christian family. Her ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter