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Old 02.12.2011, 15:10
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Opening Pandora's box?

Scientists have now created an H5N1 avian influenza strain that transmits easily between ferrets - animals that closely mimic the human response to flu. If this strain were released it would lead to a pandemic, most likely with many deaths.

What argument weights higher when it comes to biosafety: the potential benefit of analyzing drugs and flu countermeasures with an actual deadly strain or the danger that it poses when released/ gotten into the wrong hands?

Full article: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/33....334.6060.1192
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Old 02.12.2011, 15:17
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Re: Opening Pandora's box?

Just as a point of interest. Influenza vaccines are routinely tested in ferrets, because they are, as you said, one of the closest models to the human form of the disease in terms of transmission and immune response.

I think they have to do the science, there's no question about that, but there have to be enough checks and measures that this strain does not get into the right hands. IIRC, Influenza virus is kept at one of the highest, if the THE highest, biosafety containment facilities. therefore, it should be extremely difficult to get hold of it.
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Old 02.12.2011, 15:24
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Re: Opening Pandora's box?

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Just as a point of interest. Influenza vaccines are routinely tested in ferrets, because they are, as you said, one of the closest models to the human form of the disease in terms of transmission and immune response.

I think they have to do the science, there's no question about that, but there have to be enough checks and measures that this strain does not get into the right hands. IIRC, Influenza virus is kept at one of the highest, if the THE highest, biosafety containment facilities. therefore, it should be extremely difficult to get hold of it.

have you not seen 28 days later
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Old 02.12.2011, 15:28
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Re: Opening Pandora's box?

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have you not seen 28 days later
Yep, several times. And 28 weeks later.

Bloody animal rights activists are to blame for everything.
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Old 02.12.2011, 15:34
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Re: Opening Pandora's box?

Reminds me of my wife a few years ago. She got a nasty bug which required a visit to the doctor and a blood test.

She went to visit the doctor after the results came back. He said they were very interesting as he had never seen that particular strain before - outside of a lab environment.

She then was a lot more careful about changing her clothes etc after a day in the lab.
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Old 02.12.2011, 15:34
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Re: Opening Pandora's box?

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I think they have to do the science, there's no question about that, but there have to be enough checks and measures that this strain does not get into the right hands. IIRC, Influenza virus is kept at one of the highest, if the THE highest, biosafety containment facilities. therefore, it should be extremely difficult to get hold of it.
The strains are kept somewhere (hopefully very very) safe, but what worries me a bit are the publications. It's like a protocol for destruction telling everybody exactly how to create the strain. I'm curious whether the actual paper will contain details on i) how the strain was generated and ii) which mutations cause the phenotype.
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Old 02.12.2011, 15:34
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Re: Opening Pandora's box?

i'm prepared for the zombie apocalypse. bring it on!
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Old 02.12.2011, 15:34
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Re: Opening Pandora's box?

Actually, Influenza A is only Biosafety level 2 (of 4). I'm surprised seeing how easily transmissable it can be.

I wonder if this particular strain has been raised to a higher level though, considering the risk it could pose.
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Old 02.12.2011, 15:34
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Re: Opening Pandora's box?

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Just as a point of interest. Influenza vaccines are routinely tested in ferrets, because they are, as you said, one of the closest models to the human form of the disease in terms of transmission and immune response.

I think they have to do the science, there's no question about that, but there have to be enough checks and measures that this strain does not get into the right hands. IIRC, Influenza virus is kept at one of the highest, if the THE highest, biosafety containment facilities. therefore, it should be extremely difficult to get hold of it.
About "checks and measures that this strain does not get into the right hands."
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Old 02.12.2011, 15:35
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Re: Opening Pandora's box?

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Scientists have now created an H5N1 avian influenza strain that transmits easily between ferrets - animals that closely mimic the human response to flu. If this strain were released it would lead to a pandemic, most likely with many deaths.

What argument weights higher when it comes to biosafety: the potential benefit of analyzing drugs and flu countermeasures with an actual deadly strain or the danger that it poses when released/ gotten into the wrong hands?

Full article: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/33....334.6060.1192
Were they wearing gloves?
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Old 02.12.2011, 15:37
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Re: Opening Pandora's box?

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About "checks and measures that this strain does not get into the right hands."

Lol, well spotted. Freudian slip?
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Old 02.12.2011, 15:38
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Re: Opening Pandora's box?

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The strains are kept somewhere (hopefully very very) safe, but what worries me a bit are the publications. It's like a protocol for destruction telling everybody exactly how to create the strain. I'm curious whether the actual paper will contain details on i) how the strain was generated and ii) which mutations cause the phenotype.
In the interests of scientific transparency, it probably does. The techniques are not new tbh, and not exactly difficult to do with the right know-how and equipment.
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Old 02.12.2011, 17:01
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Re: Opening Pandora's box?

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In the interests of scientific transparency, it probably does. The techniques are not new tbh, and not exactly difficult to do with the right know-how and equipment.
But it's even easier if you know what you're looking for and can introduce the mutations directly. This is a case where it's worth to sacrifice transparency imo and focus on results only. Although, a person that really want this info will find a way to obtain it, but it doesn't mean that s/he should get it served on a silver plate.
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Old 02.12.2011, 17:02
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Re: Opening Pandora's box?

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Were they wearing gloves?
The researchers or the ferrets?
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Old 02.12.2011, 17:04
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Re: Opening Pandora's box?

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i'm prepared for the zombie apocalypse. bring it on!
bitch, you got bitten by a girl while dancing and were all like:

"Why did she do that?"

Instead of amputating your arm.

Apocalypse readiness fail.
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Old 02.12.2011, 17:23
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Re: Opening Pandora's box?

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But it's even easier if you know what you're looking for and can introduce the mutations directly. This is a case where it's worth to sacrifice transparency imo and focus on results only. Although, a person that really want this info will find a way to obtain it, but it doesn't mean that s/he should get it served on a silver plate.
why bother with this unknown thing? smallpox is deadly, the population is not immunised to it and the sequence is readily available. with dna synthesizers available on ebay for less than the first class tickets bought for the 9/11 attack, a well-funded and motivated terrorist might be successful in producing smallpox with a few years of work.

imo, i think it unlikely that 'bad people' would go to this effort when much easier methods are available.

ob-conclusion/opinion: make it available to everyone

Last edited by Phil_MCR; 02.12.2011 at 17:53.
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Old 02.12.2011, 17:25
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Re: Opening Pandora's box?

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bitch, you got bitten by a girl while dancing and were all like:

"Why did she do that?"

Instead of amputating your arm.

Apocalypse readiness fail.
duh. you can only become a zombie when bitten by a zombie or directly exposed to the virus. everybody knows that!
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Old 02.12.2011, 17:26
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Re: Opening Pandora's box?

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duh. you can only become a zombie when bitten by a zombie or directly exposed to the virus. everybody knows that!
yeah.. because she wasn't infected, right?


you fail... join your zombie horde noob
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Old 02.12.2011, 17:27
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Re: Opening Pandora's box?

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you got bitten by a girl while dancing
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Old 02.12.2011, 17:34
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Re: Opening Pandora's box?

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yeah.. because she wasn't infected, right?


you fail... join your zombie horde noob
nah-ah. zombies can't dance.
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