- From Patricia Doyle, PhD
- Hello Jeff - This is extremely bad news.
- If this thing gets out, and, as I believe merges with
H5N1 we WILL have the pandemic that the
- Bush cabal seems to be 'expecting.'
- How easy it will be for someone to release a chimera
now and say it was an accident, or simply H5 recombining. I think that
this is why all those brilliants scientists were killed off.
- Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
- ATLANTA - Federal scientists
say they will consider requests to ship the recently recreated 1918 killer
flu virus to select U.S. research labs.
- There are 300 non-government research labs registered
to work with deadly germs like the Spanish flu, which killed millions of
people worldwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will consider
requests for samples from those labs "on a case-by-case basis,"
CDC spokesman Von Roebuck said Wednesday.
- Dangerous biological agents are routinely shipped through
commercial carriers like FedEx or DHL, following government packaging,
safety and security guidelines.
- Last month, U.S. scientists announced they had created
- from scratch - the 1918 virus. It was the first time an infectious agent
behind a historic global epidemic had ever been reconstructed.
- Researchers said they believed it would help them develop
defenses against the threat of a future pandemic evolving from bird flu,
which was found to have similar characteristics as the 1918 virus.
- About 10 vials of virus were created, each containing
about 10 million infectious virus particles. CDC officials said at the
time the particles would be stored at a CDC facility in Atlanta, and that
there were no plans to send samples off campus.
- But that statement did not mean there was a policy against
sending samples elsewhere, Roebuck said.
- The agency's decision to consider shipping the virus
outside Atlanta was first reported in the latest issue of the journal Nature.
Some critics of the recreation of the virus were not pleased to learn of
plans to ship the germ.
- "Obviously, that contradicts what most people were
led to believe when the results of the 1918 experiments were published,"
said Edward Hammond, director of the Sunshine Project, an Austin, Texas-based
organization that advocates more control of biological weapons and biotechnology.
- In addition to creating the virus, the scientists said
they would place the gene-sequencing information from the new research
in GenBank, a public database operated by the National Institutes of Health.
- GenBank will allow some research groups to build their
own virus, rather than seek samples of what the CDC had created.
- "But that would be a lot of work. Wasted, duplicative
work, if they (the CDC) have already made it," said Dr. Diane Griffin,
chair of molecular microbiology and immunology at Johns Hopkins University's
Bloomberg School of Public Health.
- It's impractical to expect every influenza researcher
who could learn from the 1918 virus to travel to Atlanta, said Michael
Osterholm of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.
- "There's very limited lab space there," said
Osterholm, director of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research
- The CDC currently has no pending requests for the virus,
Roebuck said. It's unlikely many requests would come in right away, Osterholm
- The government requires researchers who work with such
agents to use highly secure labs that meet strict training and equipment
requirements. About 300 labs are registered for handling such agents, and
all are located in the United States, Roebuck said.
- "This (virus) is not going to go willy nilly to
anyone who wants it," he said.