Bloomberg– The World Health Organization is investigating a claim by an Australian researcher that the swine flu virus circling the globe may have been created as a result of human error.

Adrian Gibbs, 75, who collaborated on research that led to the development of Roche Holding AG’s Tamiflu drug, said in an interview that he intends to publish a report suggesting the new strain may have accidentally evolved in eggs scientists use to grow viruses and drugmakers use to make vaccines. Gibbs said he came to his conclusion as part of an effort to trace the virus’s origins by analyzing its genetic blueprint.

“One of the simplest explanations is that it’s a laboratory escape,” Gibbs said in an interview with Bloomberg Television today. “But there are lots of others.” The World Health Organization received the study last weekend and is reviewing it, Keiji Fukuda, the agency’s assistant director-general of health security and environment, said in an interview May 11. Gibbs, who has studied germ evolution for four decades, is one of the first scientists to analyze the genetic makeup of the virus that was identified three weeks ago in Mexico and threatens to touch off the first flu pandemic since 1968.

A virus that resulted from lab experimentation or vaccine production may indicate a greater need for security, Fukuda said. By pinpointing the source of the virus, scientists also may better understand the microbe’s potential for spreading and causing illness, Gibbs said. The sooner we get to grips with where it’s come from, the safer things might become,” Gibbs said by phone from Canberra yesterday. “It could be a mistake” that occurred at a vaccine production facility or the virus could have jumped from a pig to another mammal or a bird before reaching humans, he said.

Gibbs and two colleagues analyzed the publicly available sequences of hundreds of amino acids coded by each of the flu virus’s eight genes. He said he aims to submit his three-page paper today for publication in a medical journal.

“You really want a very sober assessment” of the science behind the claim, Fukuda said May 11 at the WHO’s Geneva headquarters. “My guess is that the picture should be a lot clearer over the next few days,” Fukuda said. “We have asked a lot of people to look at this.” Gibbs wrote or co-authored more than 250 scientific publications on viruses during his 39-year career at the Australian National University in Canberra, according to biographical information on the university’s Web site.

These “mistakes” are starting to seem just a little bit suspicious to me and of course, Adam Curry.

  1. yankinwaoz says:

    And so how did it end up in a pig farm in a small rural mexican village?

  2. ECA says:

    lets see.
    released strain of a Flu,
    that has been Watched and traced for years.

    In what areas could this be a problem?
    Undeveloped areas?? many parts of china??
    Even if this had a high infection rate, NOT many are dying in developed areas.
    I find it interesting that the LOCATION that is said to be the starting point, is OUT IN THE MIDDLE of no where. And that a city is the spread location to other countries, is over 1 hour away on BACK roads.
    Even if 1 person was infected, and carried it to that city, and infected MANY OTHERS, wouldnt that city have a VERY HIGH infection statistic? Its not there.
    Even if 1 person was infected, and MET another person to pass on, ON the flight HOME, you should see infections at major metro areas. as the pilots and stewards would carry it. Still dont see it.
    Even if 1 infected person MET up with a small group in mexico. That group would take a few days to infect, on their way home, and spread randomly AFTER getting home. THIS I can see. As the infected person is STILL in mexico, and random SPOTS popped up. BUT, why would a small group MEET UP?? for what purpose??

  3. chuck says:

    Which would be worse:
    – a deadly virus was released into the world as a result of gross incompetence.
    – evil geniuses at the CIA are playing with our lives.

  4. bobbo says:

    Ain’t science a bitch? I can only wonder why more people are praying that these sorts of things don’t happen. If we don’t pray, how can god tell what is most important to us, what with our free will and all?

  5. Robrites says:

    It looks like the companies that make the vaccines are now making the flu’s… Gotta like that business model.

  6. SparkyOne says:

    # 5 Sister Mary Hand Grenade of Quiet Reflection,
    Pigs get vacation now?

  7. Angel H. Wong says:

    Gee, Tamiflu is useless on this year’s regular flu but Oh! Miracle! It is effective against the swine flu! What a coincidence!


  8. Breetai says:

    Nice find Angel

  9. bill says:

    Really? engineer a ‘medicine’ and then engineer a fatal sickness that only the medicine will treat?

    Is that the future we are going to have to deal with?

  10. Nimby says:

    Sad to say it does make sense. Genetically, I am led to understand, the Mexican variant is a combination of three strains; Asian Swine, European Swine and Asian Avian. That would be a tough combo to get without some help.

    Alfie? Is your god still making plagues? I know he’s an omniscient and compassionate god but he does seem to like to kill people…

    If not a god, then it seems likely man was involved.

  11. bobbo says:

    “If not a god, then it seems likely man was involved.”

    Yea, verily – for is not God to Us as We are to microbes?

  12. Li says:

    It is not God that makes men weep, it is man that makes God weep.

    Dr. Gibbs is extraordinarily well published, and has contributed to much of what we know about viral replication in the modern era. This is an very significant development in this story, and I’m not just saying that because it matches my suspicions about this bizarre, lethal, rapidly mutating tri-hybrid virus appearing out of no-where.

    Now we have to figure out the how’s, why’s and where’s of the story. Shouldn’t be too hard, frankly, unless there is stonewalling. The simplest explanation is a lab release, but that is not necessarily the correct explanation. As Dr. Gibbs said,

    “One of the simplest explanations is that it’s a laboratory escape. —-But there are lots of others.—-” You highlighted the wrong part of that quote, John. The second sentence is reserved science-speak for “This may have been a purposeful release.”

  13. ECA says:

    it dont need to be last ditch. Just a way to raise profits.

    Another thought goes like this.
    WE know its going to happen, so lets get it over with. Infect everyone and the antibodies are THERE. WHEN we can cover it and protect people, NOT 10 years from now, when others forget.

    Another one is more advanced.
    OK, lets setup the PLAGUE to kill off 2/3 of the planet. FIRST we start with a few infections on 1 thing, THEN we go to the next. THEn we build up to the REAL thing. WE make money selling CURES as well as REDO the whole world.

    I shouldnt say more, my masters might get upset.

  14. SparkyOne says:

    #9 Angel H. Wong,
    My thanks for the quick edgeucation.


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