Swine flu: One killer virus, three key questions : Nature News –This is a deadly dull report until you get near the end and read about this experimentation. If these labs were not constantly breached, I’d be happier.

A deadly line-up of viruses is locked up in the computer-controlled safes at the Jean Mérieux/INSERM biosecurity level four (BSL-4) facility in Lyon, France, including Ebola, Nipah, Lassa, Hendra and Marburg. And in the next few weeks, scientists working there are planning to manufacture a new resident. They hope to test whether the highly transmissible pandemic H1N1 virus could reassort with its deadlier cousin, the H5N1 avian flu, to make a virus with the worst properties of both.

Over the summer, Lina’s team has been using the BSL-4 facility to investigate the likelihood that pandemic H1N1 will acquire resistance to the front-line antiviral drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu) through reassortment, and how easily these reassortments might spread. Resistance can emerge by spontaneous mutation, but given that seasonal H1N1 is already resistant to the drug and spreads easily, reassortment is perhaps the most likely way that pandemic H1N1 will acquire resistance — especially as seasonal H1NI and pandemic H1N1 are the same subtype. Since the start of the pandemic, Tamiflu-resistant strains have sporadically appeared in several countries but none has yet gained a foothold. That they haven’t arisen more often or spread more easily may be because there is little seasonal H1N1 circulating, as pandemic H1N1 is outcompeting it — a large number of co-infections are needed for transmissible reassortments to arise.

  1. jak says:

    This kind of thing should scare the shit out of everybody! Combining virus’s that are not something that is likely to combine on it’s own just to see how deadly it is or to figure out what makes or how to make something more virulent. All it takes is one accidental exposure or mentally unstable or greedy scientist and we’ll have a real pandemic and not one of these fake overblown one’s like we have now.

  2. MotaMan says:

    “It is also smack in the city centre, its entrance just metres from mothers pushing prams along the pavement on avenue Tony Garnier.”

    I especially liked that part of the story

  3. tcc3 says:

    {reminded of the beginning of The Stand – Don’t fear the reaper}

  4. jak says:

    Oh and their is always the nut job religious zealot that believes he is doing gods work by hastening the End of Days by turning something like this loose on the sinners of the world.

  5. sargasso says:

    On a related note, virulence is like the wind, lethality is like fire. A fast killing virus (Avian Flu) doesn’t spread very far in a static population because the carriers die close to where they caught the infection. Very virulent infections (Swine Flu) are almost always treatable and not so deadly, because the mechanism for transmission relies on a victim who is able to carry and infect others (giving the human immune system time to adapt). The hybridization of these two infection mechanisms, almost always fails.

  6. chuck says:

    I’m sure the Umbrella corporation has our best interests at heart.

  7. Improbus says:

    Thriller the Musical …. sponsored by the Umbrella Corporation.

  8. Dave Knows Too Much 3tuff says:

    Resistance = evolution

    “Computer Controlled Safe” lets hope its not running windows.

  9. tonyedit says:

    I miss the old John. The one that didn’t have people in his ear carving him an online personality. Now this is just a lightweight libertarian (see reactionary) blog. Btw, please please dump Curry. That guys a yucks blowhard and nowhere near as subtle as John. I’m giving up and no, it’s not my fault. Cranky Geeks still has solid editorial and humour. But the rest? Pfffffff…

  10. clancys_daddy says:

    What could it turn into? yes and the sun could explode, California sink into the ocean, the earth could get warmer or colder, you or I could get hit by a car crossing the street, or you might win the lottery. Could yes but I won’t lose any sleep over it, neither will any person with a modicum of knowledge about biology or science. The media knows nothing about either, and never ever gets the facts right.

  11. deowll says:

    Goody, just what we need. A biological warfare lab pumping out killer viruses in the middle of a densely populated region. I vote we give these people to the sharks.

  12. Ralph, the Bus Driver says:

    Bad posting. The article is for subscription only. I don’t feel like paying $32 to read something in order to make a comment.

    But I notice the number of people that comment based upon only a headline.

  13. Crankblock says:

    More horseshit coming from the virus banking industry.

  14. A BBC report claims only 50% of pregnant women have chosen to have the new swine flu vaccine.

  15. clancys_daddy says:

    #12 actually the article was posted yesterday 11/18/09. But is now only available through pay to read.


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