SCIENTISTS NOW WORRIED THAT MANUFACTURED SUPER FLU COULD KILL BILLIONS
February 5 2012
Washington, D.C. – There have been many plagues throughout history, diseases that have shaped the modern world for good and ill, and there are diseases today capable of doing the same thing, but there has been no disease ever on planet Earth as awesomely destructive as Influenza.
We have a model for that disease, the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak which killed upwards of 3 percent of the global population, 50 million in total in a year and half, twice as many as have died from AIDS in over thirty years. Further, the disease infected 500 million people, more than a quarter of the population of the planet, a percentage which would result in nearly 2 billion infections today, not accounting for our much wider global reach of course.
For many people that epidemic is simply a historical lesson, a tale told to illustrate a point, but the threat exists today in very much the same form. Specifically, the H5N1 virus, better known as bird flu, has the capacity to cause similar global destruction, or at least it did until scientists started messing around with it and made it way more lethal, giving it the ability to kill 50 percent or more of the global population, something they admit now was probably a little misguided.
"Frankly, I don't want a virus out there that, even if it was 20 times less lethal, would still be the worst influenza pandemic in history,” said Michael Osterholm of the US National Science Advisory Board for BiosecuritY (NSABB). “I wouldn't like to see smallpox get out of the lab, but if it did it wouldn't overly concern me. We could contain it. The same thing is true with Sars. But influenza would scare the hell out of me, because it is the most notorious, the 'Lion King' of transmission. Once it's out there, it's gone, it's worldwide.”
The disease was give aerosol, airborne, ability by Dutch scientists last year for God knows what reason.
Thus far the only part of the disease to leak out into the public has been a little bit of fear and insecurity, but that situation will change if something goes wrong.
“The concern here is pretty obvious to even a layman. If someone, say a rogue scientist, a cult, a dictator, a terrorist or some other crazy person gets ahold of the disease it could, would, kill billions of people and that is not something anyone wants, well except for them of course,” said Scrape TV Science analyst Dr. Howard Poe. “That’s actually exactly what they would want, but the rest of us wouldn’t. There is also the possibility that it could get out accidentally, travelling out in some unsuspecting lab assistant which of course would result in the same thing, mass death and chaos which is not desirable.”
The NSABB is currently looking at putting a moratorium on research to try and prevent the disease from becoming even more virulent.
“This is one of those situations where it seemed like a great idea at the beginning but after the fact you realize that maybe you should have used a little restraint, like eating a whole bag of Doritos, though with a lot more death in this case, way more, which is worse than gas and an uneasy night,” continued Poe. “Not to diminish the results of overeating of course but the death of 4 billion people or so would be much more destructive and disruptive. I’m sure many of the people involved are kind of kicking themselves now, realizing that it maybe wasn’t the best idea to make a killer flu in the first place, but that’s done now.”
One researcher from the lab that created the super flu was seen sniffing and scratching his eyes recently, though he does have allergies.
Lauren Hebert, Health Correspondent