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 May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


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


Comments


More Health

Milwaukee man shocks distraught family by 'coming back to life' Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

When a man from Milwaukee was pronounced dead last week, everyone, from his girlfriend to his brother, was immediately notified. The first responders made all the necessary arrangements for the corpse to be transported to the morgue. While all the preparations were ... continue reading


Revolutionary! Robotic arm controlled by thought provides breakthrough for paralyzed Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An exciting new breakthrough in robotics may now enable the paralyzed to command helpmates with everyday activity. The breakthrough came in form of 34-year-old Erik Sorto, paralyzed from the neck down after being shot in the back 13 years ago. Thanks to a ... continue reading


Ancient Chinese plant 'thunder god vine' studied as miracle drug for obesity Watch

Image of In developed nations, where food is inexpensive and plentiful, obesity has been an ongoing problem. Obesity causes heart disease, diabetes and increases the risk for heart attack and stroke.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A traditional Chinese medicine known as "thunder god vine" is being heralded by some scientists as the new miracle drug in the war against obesity. Scientists in an article published in the medical journal Cell last week said an extract made from the plant ... continue reading


Brain reset: Scientists uncover unusual way to get rid of brain disorders Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

By implanting special cells that emit GABA into the brains of adult mice scientists found a way to cure certain brain disorders, like lazy eye. Initially an almost impossible endeavor, the experiment led a team of scientists to a way to reset the brain and basically ... continue reading


Health in the United States: Which cities are the healthiest? Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The American College of Sports Medicine has recently released their 2015 American Fitness Index, naming the top three fittest and the least fit cities in the entire United States. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) -  Among the thousands of cities surveyed ... continue reading


Nebraska orders STATE OF EMERGENCY over H5N2 avian flu virus Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A type of avian flu, and unfortunately the most lethal to hit the United States, has posed several concerns for farmers and scientists. So far, the H5N2 strain of the bird flu virus has already killed 15,000 turkeys in Minnesota alone. Now, over 33 million birds in 16 ... continue reading


Why a handshake just might save your life Watch

Image of Handshakes may be able to determine your risk for heart disease or other illnesses.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Are you worried about a heart attack or stroke? Well there may be an easy way to tell if you are at greater risk for either of these diseases, are near death or seriously ill, and you don't need anything more than a hand and a partner. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Are you afraid of needles? Scientist believes he found way to reduce injection pain Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A lot of people, the young and old alike, are really frightened of getting injections, even just the thought of it. The good news is that scientists have discovered a simple answer. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Spanish scientists believe that holding ... continue reading


Woman gives shocking birth to baby born with bladder outside of body Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Born with a rare congenital defect, Baby Lila underwent a unique surgery, shortly after she was born with her bladder outside the body. This defect was detected when the doctor couldn't find her bladder in a sonogram conducted during the 22-week prenatal appointment. ... continue reading


What do healthy people eat for breakfast? 11 healthy breakfast choices from dietitians and experts Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

What we eat in the mornings have an effect on our energy levels throughout the day. Here, registered dietitians, personal trainers, health editors and nutritionists, suggest healthy breakfasts for a healthy morning start, with some help from BuzzFeed. MUNTINLUPA, ... 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, Sirach 35:1-12
1 One who keeps the Law multiplies offerings; one who ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 50:5-6, 7-8, 14, 23
5 'Gather to me my faithful, who sealed my covenant ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 10:28-31
28 Peter took this up. 'Look,' he said to him, 'we ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 26th, 2015 Image

St. Philip Neri
May 26: If one had to choose one saint who showed the humorous side of ... 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