Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

6/12/2014 (1 year 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 (1 year 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2015
Universal:
That immigrants and refugees may find welcome and respect in the countries to which they come.
Evangelization: That the personal encounter with Jesus may arouse in many young people the desire to offer their own lives in priesthood or consecrated life.


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


Comments


More Health

Health experts warn on animal diseases used as biological weapons Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The World Health Organization (WHO), animal health and national defense officers announced on June 30 the need for a wider international cooperation to sidestep the spread of animal diseases that could potentially be utilized as deadly biological weapons.  ... continue reading


Lazy lifestyles pose dangerous and deadly threat to today's generation Watch

Image of Laziness can lead to problems with being overweight.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

You might not be entirely aware, but according to the World Health Organization, physical inactivity is now the fourth most notorious global killer. In fact, the impact of physical inactivity has been claimed as the reason for more fatalities than the collective effect ... continue reading


5 wonderful facts about sunscreen that you didn't know Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The need to use sunscreen is something emphasized everyday, not only by dermatologists but also by the beauty industry, media, etc. It's basically everywhere. It is not an alien fact to us that using sunscreen religiously will help us combat premature aging, the risk ... continue reading


Is getting plastic surgery a sin against God? Watch

Image of Plastic surgery is considered a simple medical procedure nowadays but remains as an intriguing aspect for the Catholic Church.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Plastic surgery may seem to be a common medical procedure for several individuals around the globe, but the Catholic Church still has different points of views when it comes to changing the naturally bestowed beauty from God. Some medical practitioners, on the other ... continue reading


'Swimming pool eyes' are not because of chlorine... but because of urine Watch

Image of Swimmers that use the pool for their toilet causes the urine to react with chlorine. This in turn creates a chemical compound that hurts the eyes.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In a sage bit of advice that has a double meaning - you may not want to "go" to a public swimming pool after you learn this disgusting fact. If you emerge from the pool with red, stinging, sensitive eyes, it is not because of the chlorine... it is because of ... continue reading


Recording reveals anesthesiologist's shocking verbal abuse against unconscious patient Watch

Image of An anesthesiologist [not pictured] is caught make rude comments about patient.

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Instead of simply recording his doctor's post-operation instructions, as intended, a Virginian man accidentally recorded the anesthesiologist's verbal onslaught against him while he was asleep. Concealing his identity, the patient filed a lawsuit, including the doctor ... continue reading


Eating 'Fitness Snacks' may not be the healthy alternative for staying fit Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

We often hear the term "fitness food" or see products that are marketed as a healthy and guilt-free alternatives to chocolates and chips, or a way to fight cravings and hunger pangs. But could these "fitness foods" really be the key to keeping oneself healthy and fit? ... continue reading


Have you been exposed to this common, 'cancer causing' chemical? Watch

Image of A chemical commonly used in herbicides may cause cancer in those exposed to it, though early evidence is not conclusive.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A chemical in a common herbicide widely used in farm work may potentially pose a threat to humans who are exposed to it, a new report from a World Health Organization (WHO) research unit has found. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The herbicide known as ... continue reading


Kim Jong-Un claims to create 'miracle drug' that cures AIDS, Ebola, SARS an MERS Watch

Image of Kim Jong Un claims to have found the cure for AIDS.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While he's not working on his nuclear weapons project, North Korea's Kim Jong-Un reportedly has been busy creating a miracle drug. Curing and preventing diseases such as AIDS, Ebola, SARS and MERS, he claims to have succeeded in with his medical endeavor, despite years ... continue reading


Human breast milk sold online presents dangerous health risks to consumers Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The growing craze of human breast milk sold online has concerned many health experts. According to them, there is no scientific evidence found stating that drinking human breast milk can help restore health, as believed by some fitness communities and those suffering ... 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, Genesis 21:5, 8-20
5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 34:7-8, 10-11, 12-13
7 The angel of Yahweh encamps around those who fear ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 8:28-34
28 When he reached the territory of the Gadarenes on ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 1st, 2015 Image

Bl. Junipero Serra
July 1: Miguel Jose Serra was born on the island of Majorca on November ... 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