|"The Box. You opened it. We came." Friendly Neighborhood Cenobite|
A group of scientists are pushing to publish research papers conducted on a mutated strain of the H5N1 bird flu virus created in a lab that has the potential to wipe out all of mankind!
In a real life version of the recent hit Matt Damon film Contagion, researchers have tweaked a strain of the already dangerous virus, making it thousands of times more deadly and contagious than the original virus! Now, a firestorm of controversy has erupted over whether or not the research regarding the mutated strain should be made public. Many top health organizations claim that releasing any information publicly about the top secret experiments brings out the potential for a bio-terrorist attack, should the information somehow fall into the wrong hands. (There's a lot of wrong hands out there, folks!)
Virologist Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands lead a team of top scientists and specialists who discovered that a mere five mutations to the original avian virus was sufficient to make it far more contagious and deadly. Fouchier claims that the experiments were conducted to better understand how deadly viruses mutate, which makes the process of finding a vaccine more difficult. Now, critics are concerned that the new strain would make the much-feared Ebola virus look like a mild case of the sniffles!
Director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and bio-defense expert Michael Osterholm asserts that the research carried out is "important medically". Having said that, he does admit, "We don't want to give bad guys a road map on how to make bad bugs really bad". That should make us all rest easier...