Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

6/12/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Controversial experiment has scientists recreating deadly avian flu found in wild ducks

In a controversial move that could become a Pandora's Box - where a long dormant disease may once again be unleashed upon the world, scientists have recreated the deadly Spanish flu virus in controlled laboratory conditions. The Spanish flu killed at least 50 million people in the years immediately following World War I.

The deadly Spanish flu killed as many as 50 million people in the years following World War I.

The deadly Spanish flu killed as many as 50 million people in the years following World War I.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/12/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: Spanish flu, laboratory recreation, pandemic, safety concerns


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Laboratory ferrets were infected with close copies of the 1918 virus to see how easy it can be transmitted in the best animal model of the human disease.

Researchers have denounced the research as foolhardy and dangerous. Any benefits of the attempts to recreate 1918-like flu viruses from existing avian flu strains, they warn, don't justify the catastrophic risks if such a genetically engineered virus were to escape. The deliberate or accidental release of the strain from the laboratory could very well cause a deadly influenza pandemic.

Learn how you can feed a hungry child -- by going here!

"These critics fail to appreciate the precautions and safeguards built into our work, the regulation, review and oversight these studies receive." Professor Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin-Madison says. "The risks of conducting this research are not ignored, but they can be effectively managed and mitigated," Kawaoka said.

He dismissed criticisms of his research. It is necessary for the development of influenza vaccines, he says, along with other countermeasures designed to minimize the risks of a future flu pandemic.

"We know studies like ours advance the field and help those responsible for making decisions about surveillance and pandemic preparedness [to] base decisions on scientific fact, rather than conjecture. Therefore our research provides important benefits that cannot be achieved by other means," he said in an email to The Independent.

Performed in a secure laboratory with the second highest biosafety level, the experiment proved that all the necessary ingredients exist in the wild population of bird flu viruses for the emergence of a virus similar to the deadly 1918 flu strain.

"Because avian influenza viruses in nature require only a few changes to adapt to humans and cause a pandemic, it is important to understand the mechanisms involved in adaptation and identify the key mutations so we can be better prepared," Kawaoka said.

"The point of the study was to assess the risk of avian viruses currently circulating in nature. We found genes in avian influenza viruses quite closely related to the 1918 virus and, to evaluate the pandemic potential should such a 1918-like virus emerge, identified changes that enabled it to transmit in ferrets," he said.

Recreated from eight genes found in avian flu viruses isolated from populations of wild ducks, researchers used a technique known as "reverse genetics." Researchers rebuilt the entire virus so that it was 97 percent identical to the 1918 strain.

Tests on ferrets showed that the virus was still able to cause flu-like symptoms. When it was further mutated at just seven points, the virus spread easily from one animal to another - indicating that it could cause a pandemic in the human population.

---


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


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for SEPTEMBER 2016
Universal:
Centrality of the Human Person: That each may contribute to the common good and to the building of a society that places the human person at the center.
Evangelization: Mission to Evangelize: That by participating in the Sacraments and meditating on Scripture, Christians may become more aware of their mission to evangelize.



Comments


More Health

Birth control leads to depression, increased risk of breast cancer and more Watch

Image of What impact does birth control have on your hormones?

By (CNA/EWTN News)

For the millions of women using hormonal birth control, side effects are nothing new. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - Headaches, mood swings and weight gain are all commonly reported side effects, not to mention more serious problems such as blood clots and ... continue reading


God is good! Man learns to walk after FOUR DECADES in wheelchair Watch

Image of Rufino Borrego (not pictured) no longer requires his wheelchair.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Rufino Borrego was only 13-years-old when he was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, leading to 43-years of his life spent confined to a wheelchair. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Borrego was diagnosed by doctors at a Lisbon hospital and he spent the majority of ... continue reading


5 things you NEED to know about drug-resistant superbugs and antimicrobial resistance Watch

Image of Do YOU know how to protect yourself?

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The United Nations General Assembly voted to take "a broad coordinated approach" to antimicrobial resistance, which is growing at such an alarming rate, millions are expected to die by 2050. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "This is only the fourth time a health ... continue reading


St. Padre Pio helps dying newborn miraculously recover after 25 DAYS on life support Watch

Image of (Photo by: Ciara Wilkinson/Irish Mirror)

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Three-month-old Caitlin Dooley suffered from a life-threatening heart condition since the day she was born. Just when the Dooley family began to lose hope, St. Padre Pio stepped in. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the Irish Mirror, at just 11-days-old, ... continue reading


Pray for the children with brain cancer - the number 1 cancer responsible for childhood deaths Watch

Image of The number one cancer killing children in the US is of the brain.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A new federal report revealed brain cancer is now the leading cancer killer of children in the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Sally Curtin and her colleagues at the NCHS, part of the CDC, discovered brain tumors and leukemia are the two  most ... continue reading


Harvard scientists reveal surprising footage dubbed 'Hollywood wizardry' Watch

Image of Harvard scientists release a timelapse video featuring the evolution of antibiotic resistance.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Harvard scientists have finally released video evidence of the astounding strength of nature. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Scientists have long attempted to find a cure for bacteria-related illness such as the common cold but in a new video recently released by ... continue reading


'The killing of an innocent human being is always wrong'- Doctors suggest killing coma patients to harvest organs Watch

Image of Is it right to kill coma patients for their organs?

By Kevin J. Jones (CNA/EWTN News)

There are severe ethical shortcomings in a British doctor's proposal to help unconscious patients die so their organs can be used for transplants, one critic has said. London, England (CNA/EWTN News) - "The killing of an innocent human being is always wrong - even when ... continue reading


Don't blame the free market for drug prices out of control -- blame corruption Watch

Image of Prescription drug prices are higher in the USA than anywhere in the world.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

It's no secret that prescription drug prices in the U.S. are out of control. Americans pay far more for their drugs than people in any other industrialized nation. This excess needs correction before it collapses the American healthcare system. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


'Loneliness has to be everybody's business' - How being alone can affect your mental and physical health Watch

Image of You don't have to be alone.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In this age of connection, researchers have discovered a surprising rise in people suffering debilitating loneliness - but there is hope. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Fortune describes chronic loneliness as a "modern-day epidemic."John Cacioppo, the director of ... continue reading


Scientists resurrect an ancient killer plague, but why? Watch

Image of The Plague of Justinian killed almost 15 percent of the world's population in the sixth century AD.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Scientists have reconstructed the genome of an ancient bacteria that was responsible for one of the most devastating plagues in human history. The Plague of Justinian has been resurrected, at least in the lab. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The Plague of ... continue reading


All Health News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Job 38:1, 12-21; 40:3-5
1 Then from the heart of the tempest Yahweh gave Job his answer. He ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 139:1-3, 7-8, 9-10, 13-14
1 [For the choirmaster Of David Psalm] Yahweh, you examine me and know ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 10:13-16
13 'Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 30th, 2016 Image

St. Jerome
September 30: St. Jerome, who was born Eusebius Hieronymous ... Read More