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'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Health

NOT long enough: Ebola could lay dormant in the body for longer than 21 days, expert claims Watch

Image of Biology Professor Charles Hass, who has vast experience of analyzing the risk of transmitting biological pathogens, said

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new study warns that the recommended 21-day quarantine period for the Ebola virus is not long enough to contain the spread of the disease. While the World Health Organization advises the incubation period for the virus is between two and 21 days, scientists ... continue reading


Nurse says Texas Presbyterian Hospital was chaotic and filthy during Ebola outbreak Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas, reacted very poorly when it discovered that they had been treating a Liberian man with Ebola. According to a nurse who has since come forward, safety regulations were blithely ignored, contaminated linens and waste ... continue reading


Why aren't we doing this? Colombia bans entry to those from Ebola affected countries Watch

Image of A Liberian man is having his temperature taken by a no-contact thermometer.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Two countries have started barring entry to people coming from the nations in West Africa that have been hardest hit by the current Ebola outbreak. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Kenny Anthony, the prime minister of St. Lucia-a small island nation in the ... continue reading


Second Dallas health worker contracts Ebola virus Watch

Image of Workers scrub down Amber Vinson's apartment in Dallas, Texas.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A second Dallas health care worker has since contracted the Ebola virus - and authorities are now frantically trying to contact the more than 100 plus passengers with whom she shared a flight. Authorities says that the employee, Amber Vinson reportedly showed ... continue reading


World has until Christmas to control Ebola; all bets off afterwards Watch

Image of The World Health Organization, or WHO earlier said there could be 10,000 new cases of Ebola per week within two months.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The United Nations says the Ebola outbreak must be controlled within 60 days. Otherwise, the world faces an "unprecedented" situation for which there is no plan. Ebola, according to the U.N. "is running faster than us and it is winning the race." LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


The horrifying truth of Ebola: WHO suggests 10,000 could become infected per week Watch

Image of An aid worker carries a child infected with Ebola in Liberia, one of the West African nations hardest hit by the outbreak.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a dire warning to the world. On October 14 they announced that the death rate of the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is now 70%, much higher than usual. Even more horrifying, the WHO has stated that West Africa ... continue reading


Ebola is 'the most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times' -- WHO Watch

Image of Ninety percent of economic costs of any outbreak

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Deaths from the currently Ebola epidemic has sailed past the 4,000 mark this week, with the majority of deaths confined to West Africa: Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are the nations most impacted by the disease. But as the first death in the United States from Ebola ... continue reading


Stem cell breakthrough could save diabetics from daily injections Watch

Image of Patients could receive a single transplant with the newly generated cells, which would then read out the amount of sugar in the blood and squirt out just the right amount of the hormone insulin.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Scientists have announced a stem cell breakthrough that could one day free millions of diabetics from a lifetime of insulin injections. Stem cell researcher Douglas Melton has conceived of a method of growing billions of precious insulin-secreting cells en ... continue reading


Safety protocols called into question after first case of Ebola contracted on U.S. soil Watch

Image of More than 4,000 people have died of Ebola since the start of the year usually in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The epidemic appears to be outpacing efforts to fight it.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While Thomas Duncan from Liberia may have been America's "patient zero" in regards to Ebola, the nurse who treated him that has since fallen ill from the disease represents the first instance of Ebola being contracted on U.S. soil. Health officials, who believe ... continue reading


Texas nurse becomes second U.S. citizen to become infected with Ebola Watch

Image of The CDC has now issued a recommendation that the number of healthcare workers who treat any Ebola patients be kept to an absolute minimum to reduce the chances of exposure.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The news is not good. A female nurse who treated America's "patient zero" with the Ebola virus - who later died - has been placed in isolation after testing positive for the disease. She remains at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital under lockdown. The U.S. ... 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, Ephesians 2:1-10
1 And you were dead, through the crimes and the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:2, 3, 4, 5
2 serve Yahweh with gladness, come into his presence ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:13-21
13 A man in the crowd said to him, 'Master, tell my ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 20th, 2014 Image

St. Paul of the Cross
October 20: St. Paul of the Cross was born at Ovada in the Republic 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