Scientist Creates New Flu Virus That Can Kill All Of Humanity

Scientist creates new flu virus that can kill all of humanity

Working at a lab with a relatively low level-two biosafety rating, University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Yoshihiro Kawaoka has created a strain of flu that can completely escape the human immune system. The new genetically-engineered virus is based on H1N1, which killed around 500,000 people just five years ago.

Most people today have a level of immunity to the H1N1 flu, which is now regarded as a relatively low threat. Kawaoka genetically manipulated H1N1 so it can "escape" our neutralising antibodies. This would make the human immune system -- and population -- unable to resist an outbreak.

Kawaoka wanted to convert H1N1 to its pre-pandemic state to analyse the genetic changes involved. He told The Independent that he has now finished his study and will submit his findings to a scientific journal. He also told the newspaper that his experiment was to monitor changes to the H1N1 strain that would improve vaccines:

Through selection of immune escape viruses in the laboratory under appropriate containment conditions, we were able to identify the key regions [that] would enable 2009 H1N1 viruses to escape immunity.

Viruses in clinical isolates have been identified that have these same changes in the [viral protein]. This shows that escape viruses emerge in nature and laboratory studies like ours have relevance to what occurs in nature.

We are confident our study will contribute to the field, particularly given the number of mutant viruses we generated and the sophisticated analysis applied.

There are risks in all research. However, there are ways to mitigate the risks. As for all the research on influenza viruses in my laboratory, this work is performed by experienced researchers under appropriate containment and with full review and prior approval by the [biosafety committee]

The venue for the research was the Institute for Influenza Virus Research in Madison. The institute has a level three agriculture biosafety rating, one level beneath institutes that carry out Ebola research. However, Kawaoka's work was carried out at a level two biosafety lab. The University claims there was no risk of escape from the lab. For reference, the recent Anthrax contamination scare at Atlanta's Centres for Disease Control and Prevention had a level-three biosafety rating.

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    That's scary. All it takes is one manic depressive scientist to get his hands on this and decides to take out the human race because a girl refused his advances.

      (I can't find the delete button, I'm lacking coffee - Don't approve this post lol)

      Last edited 03/07/14 11:22 am

    The University claims there was no risk of escape from the lab.
    Thats generally the line you hear in movies before a catastrophic outbreak

    It always keeps me a bit on edge with stuff like this but more importantly the stuff that doesnt make the media

      Yeah but then I rest easy thinking that if no information can escape that lab then definitely no bugs can...

    Let's develop a virus with no cure that could potentially kill everybody in the world.
    *slow clap*

      Because we can't possibly learn anything when by studying how viruses evade the immune system. Scientists just want to play god.

      Would you rather white hats work this one out or black hats?

    This falls squarely into the "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should" category,

      Completely missing the point.

      What arrogance and immorality.
      Before anyone is allowed to conduct such supremely risky research they, and the administrators of the laboratory, should be made to sign a legally binding contract that if the pathogen leaks out then they will be handed over for torture by the (surviving) relatives of the first twenty people killed by the pathogen. Let's see how keen they are then.

    Dont forget that this could naturally occur. Now they can create an anti-virus for it.

      Exactly... or it could be manufactured by a nefarious party. Just hope they are extremely careful!

      I wonder if they disabled the "payload"?

      Was going to say something along those lines.

      As stated in the article, he wanted to observe how it mutated from the original form to the deadlier one - with the implication being that you can see how the specific virus changes, you know more about it.

    That photo looks acutely unlike Yoshihiro Kawaoka unless he is European...

      Bravo on the photo!

      S&W: It's a "12 Monkeys" reference …

      I really think that Giz need to develop policy to stop using stock images with identifiable people, or brandnames that don't actually relate to the story, especially stories with negative connotations as they can potentially be damaging for the model or brand.

        FG: while I'm sure you have a point that has some validity (although, I can't think of an example), I believe the image in this case is entirely appropriate (see my previous comment).

        As Molly may have said, "Do yourself a favour" and watch "12 Monkeys" … it's a great flick, and relevant to this posting and the issues it raises.

    I guess that a potential kidnapping isn't an issue for those researchers now that everyone knows the scientist and where he works.

    common winter flu kills more. Id be more worried about the idiot scientists digging up the graves of the people who died of spanish flu which killed 30 million in on season.

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