Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

6/12/2014 (4 months 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 (4 months 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'


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

Quarantined Ebola-positive doctor used subway, went to bowling alleys Watch

Image of Dr. Craig Spencer, an American doctor living in New York City, is under quarantine after testing positive for the Ebola virus.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As Dr. Craig Spencer, an American doctor living in New York City, is under quarantine after testing positive for the Ebola virus, officials are frantically tracking his steps throughout the city in order to see who could have been exposed. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


While death rates fall, tuberculosis still leaves millions stricken Watch

Image of The WHO said that insufficient funding was hampering efforts to combat the disease. An estimated $8 billion was needed each year.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

For a completely curable disease, tuberculosis continues its deadly worldwide toll. The World Health Organization says that about 1.5 million people died in 2013 from TB, including 360,000 people who were HIV positive. The organization estimates that there are ... continue reading


Have we passed the tipping point? Drug resistant tuberculosis could kill millions Watch

Image of Tuberculosis, also known as the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that multidrug resistant tuberculosis (TB) is reaching a tipping point, with about 480,000 new cases having occurred this year. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The lung disease killed nearly 1.5 million people ... continue reading


What's the biggest danger in your home? It will shock and disgust you Watch

Image of Kitchen towels in your home may be the biggest danger to the health of you and your family.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The biggest danger in your house aren't stairs, bugs or chemicals, but actually may be hand towels kept in the kitchen. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Kitchen towels may spread food poisoning, bacteria or other dangerous microorganisms around your home without any ... continue reading


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


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 4:1-6
1 I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you therefore to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm Of David] To Yahweh belong the earth and all ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:54-59
54 He said again to the crowds, 'When you see a cloud ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 24th, 2014 Image

St. Anthony Mary Claret
October 24: Claretian archbishop and founder. Anthony was born in Salient in ... 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