Skip to content

PANDORA'S BOX? Scientists recreate deadly Spanish flu

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/12/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://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 (https://www.catholic.org)
6/12/2014 (3 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.

---


'Help Give every Student and Teacher FREE resources for a world-class Moral Catholic Education'


Copyright 2018 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for APRIL 2018
For those who have Responsibility in Economic Matters.
That economists may have the courage to reject any economy of exclusion and know how to open new paths.


Comments


More Health

Should Catholic hospitals distribute needles and condoms? Watch

Image of

A clean needle exchange program that distributes condoms is hosted in the parking lot of an Ohio Catholic hospital, and one Catholic ... continue reading


Second wave of the flu strikes hard during Spring Watch

Image of Influenza B can be even more severe in young children.

Just when you thought you made it through flu season unharmed, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announces the dangers of a second wave ... continue reading


Conscientious objectors bill passes Mexican senate Watch

Image of

The Mexican Senate has approved a measure protecting the conscientious objections of medical personnel who hold moral or ethical objections ... continue reading


Stem cell study provides new hope for MS patients Watch

Image of

A new study involving patients in four countries has discovered that stem cells may stop multiple sclerosis and can even relieve symptoms. ... continue reading


World Health Organization warns of 'Disease X' which could kill billions Watch

Image of Disease X is out there, and it is just a matter of time.

Doctors from the World Health Organization have added a new disease to their list of potential pandemics, Disease X. The illness is ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

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

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.