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WHO Investigates Claims That Swine Flu Resulted From Human Error 249

Posted by Soulskill
from the bacon-is-innocent dept.
Tom DBA writes "Bloomberg reports on claims that the swine flu could have been accidentally made in a lab, which are now being investigated by the World Health Organization. Quoting: 'Adrian Gibbs, 75, who collaborated on research that led to the development of Roche Holding AG's Tamiflu drug, said in an interview today 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 that he came to his conclusion as part of an effort to trace the virus's origins by analyzing its genetic blueprint. ... Gibbs and two colleagues analyzed the publicly available sequences of hundreds of amino acids coded by each of the flu virus's eight genes. ... [The CDC's Nancy Cox says] since researchers don't have samples of swine flu viruses from South America and Africa, where the new strain may have evolved, those regions can't be ruled out as natural sources for the new flu.'" Time has a related story evaluating the World Health Organization's response to H1N1.
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WHO Investigates Claims That Swine Flu Resulted From Human Error

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  • First plot! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Chas (5144) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @10:57AM (#27937929) Homepage Journal

    My minions! We are discovered!

    We must now shift gears from a swine flu pandemic to sharks! With frickin' LASER BEAMS!

    • Re:First plot! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @11:05AM (#27938059) Homepage

      It could be worse: Randall Flagg could be traveling the countryside to gather his minions in Las Vegas.

  • by VShael (62735) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @10:59AM (#27937955) Journal

    I suppose even a stopped clock might be right twice a day. But still, there's a difference between man-made on purpose, and man-made by accident/human error. So all the tinfoil hat wearing brigade, can hold off on the "I told you so's".

    • by Ossifer (703813) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @11:04AM (#27938043)
      "[The CDC's Nancy Cox says] since researchers don't have samples of swine flu viruses from South America and Africa, where the new strain may have evolved, those regions can't be ruled out as natural sources"

      But let's start spreading those conspiracy theories anyway!
      • wants to claim they were specifically targeted and which government agency; most likely during Bush's term; started it.

        Never underestimate the internet for created a mess, or having Washington to create distractions from their back breaking budgets

      • by twostix (1277166) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @11:26AM (#27938383)

        You know there's two things I've learned in my nearly 30 years on this earth.

        Men often do evil things for money. Always have and always will. Now there's various scales of 'evilness' but near everyone does something at some stage that could be called evil by someone.

        $5000 on the line will make some people murder and everyone accepts that.

        Here's the weird thing:

        $100,000,000 dollars on the line and a certain type of person thinks that *nobody* would kill for it. It's crazy! I mean you wouldn't even consider releasing a weak little flu on the world to get a taste of that sort of cash? If not that's great! Your a man of values. But there's a million men on the planet who *would* do it without a single shred of remorse.

        Rapid anti-conspiracy nuts are as bad as rabid pro-conspiracy nuts. Both are absolutely delusional about the equally beautiful and grotesque mess that is called humanity.

        And for god sakes man do you have *any* idea of some of the shit that big pharma has pulled over the years?? Something like this would hardly even be a stretch.

        • by thedonger (1317951) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @11:37AM (#27938549)

          You know there's two things I've learned in my nearly 30 years on this earth.

          30 years? Hmmm, that's about 0.000000007% of the age of the earth. I'd say you are qualified.

          Not that I disagree with you, but let's face it: one other aspect of being human (in addition to your 'evil' conjecture), is that we believe not what the facts bear out but rather what the facts bear out that reinforces what we already believe.

          In my almost 37 years I have realized that virtually nothing is 100% provable, and therefore virtually everything is open to some level of interpretation, depending on the interpreter's level of delusion.

          No matter what "facts" are released to the public there will be people on both sides of the argument backing up their respective positions, and there will be nothing to convince them otherwise.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by maharb (1534501)

          Just because someone would do it doesn't mean they did it.

          This would be a logic professors ultimate example of fallacies.

          1) Because they would: they did.
          2) Because 'anti-conspiracy' people are nut jobs: you can't argue they didn't release the flu.
          3) Because some pharma companies did questionable things in the past: this company is doing questionable things now.

          Your claims are backed by nothing but wild speculation and logically flawed arguments.

        • by pherthyl (445706) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @12:07PM (#27939011)

          People doing evil things for money is not what makes conspiracy theories so unlikely to be true.
          People do evil things for money all the time. People do evil things for free all the time, so we certainly don't need the added incentive of money.

          Where the train goes off the rails is where a conspiracy theory requires that massive numbers of people are keeping their mouths shut about some grand plan that they're a small part of. That can be done for a short time, but eventually every secret that has more than about 3 people in on it comes out.

          • by zerojoker (812874)

            Where the train goes off the rails is where a conspiracy theory requires that massive numbers of people are keeping their mouths shut about some grand plan that they're a small part of. That can be done for a short time, but eventually every secret that has more than about 3 people in on it comes out.

            And if you ever had an affair, you know what the parent is talking about.

            Ah, never mind, this is slashdot.

            but seriously though, a nice scientific heuristic concerning conspiracy theories is that they all violate ocams razor...

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by R2.0 (532027)

            "Where the train goes off the rails is where a conspiracy theory requires that massive numbers of people are keeping their mouths shut about some grand plan that they're a small part of. That can be done for a short time, but eventually every secret that has more than about 3 people in on it comes out."

            Thank you. I've always been amazed by theories that posit that a cabal of people are so sophisticated that they are completely fooling everybody in the world - EXCEPT those with such clarity of vision and ac

          • by twostix (1277166) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @01:09PM (#27940015)

            D-day was kept quiet, as was the Manhattan project. The bluebird was a secret and how many thousands of men were involved in the design and production of that? The 9/11 Hijackers managed to keep their plans to themselves.

            In fact your pretty much saying that state secrets, NDAs, sworn oaths and trade secrets don't exist. Yet reality shows that they clearly do.

            What's the exact recipe for Coke a Cola? By your logic it would be out in the open by now. There's thousands of people who would have knowledge of it.

            In any case what makes you think that something like this needs large numbers of people? One person could just as easily pull it off, even if only a crackpot scientist ala the anthrax scares.

            There's plenty of things that happen because of incompetence or just sheer bad luck. But there's plenty of things that happen that were indeed planned (if only guided) by men.

            Saying that there's never a conspiracy is naive and ridiculous especially when it's based on some trite self-styled conventional wisdom that people can't keep secrets when with the correct motivation they clearly can.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Americano (920576)

              D-day was kept quiet, as was the Manhattan project.

              What happens if you violate that secrecy: The Germans or the Japanese win; You spend the rest of your life as a traitor in exile, or receive a long all-expenses paid visit at Fort Leavenworth, or the death penalty.

              The 9/11 Hijackers managed to keep their plans to themselves.

              What happens if you violate that secrecy: The 9/11 Hijackers' plan fails, and they do not become martyrs. They go to jail or are handed back to some country for whom waterboardin

            • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @02:32PM (#27941375)

              D-day was kept quiet, as was the Manhattan project.

              At least two American Generals were fired for using their knowledge of D-Day as after-dinner conversation at some cocktail parties.

              And the Soviets had spies in the Manhattan Project.

              Not really good examples.

          • by Reziac (43301) *

            "When 4 people sit down to discuss conspiracy, 3 are government agents and the 4th is a fool."
                -- old Soviet aphorism

            I read stuff like "someone created swine flu on purpose" and consider that anyone with a smattering of virology (including myself) are laughing so hard we'll all need to be hospitalized, or perhaps committed... yep, it's a conspiracy to get rid of all the virologists, so they can put their evil plan for viral domination in place!

          • by John Betonschaar (178617) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @02:22PM (#27941209)

            Where the train goes off the rails is where a conspiracy theory requires that massive numbers of people are keeping their mouths shut about some grand plan that they're a small part of.

            Although you're right when it comes to 99% of conspiracy theories, in this case _your_ train goes off the rails assuming you need 'massive numbers of people' to pull off engineering a new influenza virus and setting it free. All it takes is a few execs who know a few scientists they can blindly trust, and if everyone involved knows that all the others share the same evil ethics, it isn't unlikely at all a scheme could be devised to create a virus like this without anyone else knowing about it. I'd say you'd need no more than 10 people, probably less.

            Try googling seroquel if you think the pharmacy industry doesn't do evil things and tries to cover them up afterwards. It's an anti-deprissant that showed serious health risks and side-effects in preliminary lab studies. These studies somehow dissappeared, the side-effects where never mentioned on any package leaflet, and the drug was approved in multiple countries. Many people who used this drug developed diabetes or ended up seriously overweight, exactly the side-effects described in the lab studies, until these studies somehow surfaced, years later. You explain me how it would be more difficult to cover up creating a new strain of influence, than to have lab studies dissappear in order to get your drug approved.

        • by Vellmont (569020)


          You know there's two things I've learned in my nearly 30 years on this earth.

          Here's one thing I've found to be true on my slightly longer years on this earth.

          Reasoning purely using peoples motivations and what's _possible_ without looking for actual evidence to support your conclusions will turn you quickly into a conspiracy nut. Conspiracy theories always seem to have at their base the motivations of the people involved. Any "evidence" is always secondary, and contrary evidence is ignored.

        • Rapid anti-conspiracy nuts are as bad as rabid pro-conspiracy nuts. Both are absolutely delusional about the equally beautiful and grotesque mess that is called humanity.

          Not even close sir. Conspiracy theories are such because they have so little evidence to back them up. If there were solid logic or evidence behind the conspiracy theory, it would cease to be a conspiracy theory. The number of conspiracy theories that are proven correct compared to the ones that were proven false are staggeringly small. At least the rabid anti-conspiracy nuts have statistics and logic on their side.

          This isn't to say that conspiracies can't be correct or that they shouldn't be investigat

        • by geekoid (135745)

          "$5000 on the line will make some people murder and everyone accepts that."

          Not very many, and those people have little to loose. Even in that case I would need to see proof that a person did do something before speculating like an ass.

          "Rapid anti-conspiracy nuts "

          That makes no damn sense. Unless you mean, "people who don't go off spouting shit they have no evidence of."

          "$100,000,000 dollars on the line and a certain type of person thinks that *nobody* would kill for it. "

          Not true. The risk is very high to t

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        They don't have samples from Transylvania, where the flu may have evolved, either. They have viruses there, right? I'm not sure how that is relevant in any way.

        • by Ossifer (703813)
          > They don't have samples from Transylvania, where the flu may have evolved, either. They have viruses there, right?

          Yes, but they probably do have samples from that region. They don't have samples from Mars, and it has been posited that life on Earth originated from Mars, thus if you anti-conspiracy nuts deny the Great Martian H1N1 conspiracy you're all fools!

          > I'm not sure how that is relevant in any way.

          Thank you for being honest!
      • But let's start spreading those conspiracy theories anyway!

        Yes, let's. Business has been slow lately.

    • But still, there's a difference between man-made on purpose, and man-made by accident/human error. Yeah, yeah... never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidty... however:

      Sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from malice.

      Furthermore, I may be slightly paranoid, and I know I'm jaded and cynical, but I simply don't believe that a company that makes a flu treatment "accidentally" releases a virulent disease upon the public. If it was gross negligence that allowed this to ha

    • by marcello_dl (667940) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @11:26AM (#27938381) Homepage Journal

      Tinfoil wearing crowd will never be right since some conspiracy plots simply aren't there, which doesn't prove or disprove any theory.

      Since a large number of conspiracies happened, conspiracy deniers tout-court are in the same league of tinfoil wearing crowd.

      Back in topic: there are wars for oil, there are environmental disasters, a virus released to raise some money isn't surprising at all.

      There are other potential uses too: if economy collapses, crowds may gather with pitchforks the old fashioned way, a more virulent strain of H1N1 would force people to stay home instead.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        "...a virus released to raise some money isn't surprising at all."
        What proof is there? Sure, it could possible happen, but how about some fucking proof? oh right, some things happened before, therefore you don't need proof.

        Idiot.

    • by canajin56 (660655) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @11:58AM (#27938865)
      Even if this one isn't, scientists ARE creating lethal strains of H1N1 (aka Spanish Flu/Swine Flu) in the lab. In fact, in 2007, they succeeded in creating an H1N1 variant that kills monkeys in the same way Spanish Flu killed humans. They hope to study how to fight it off, so they will be prepared for another major pandemic. Now, I doubt very much that this is one of them. But don't assume they aren't making them, because they are, and it's not even a secret.
  • Origins (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @11:01AM (#27937985)

    So the virus is found in the poor countryside of Mexico...

    And someone thinks it was created somewhere in a lab?

    I've heard some far out conspiracy theories, but creating a mild flu in a lab and then transported out to Colillacarajo, Mexico? That's just dumb.

    • Re:Origins (Score:5, Funny)

      by oneirophrenos (1500619) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @11:08AM (#27938109)

      I've heard some far out conspiracy theories, but creating a mild flu in a lab and then transported out to Colillacarajo, Mexico? That's just dumb.

      You think they'd be so obvious as to release it in a big city such as New York or London? Of course they'd release it in a place where no-one would expect it to be released, like rural Mexico.

      Now where's my tin foil hat?

    • Re:Origins (Score:4, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @11:46AM (#27938687) Homepage Journal

      So the virus is found in the poor countryside of Mexico...

      And someone thinks it was created somewhere in a lab?

      Your comment is stupid because: viruses travel.

      It's also stupid because: If you actually wanted to release a virus, you'd do it in someplace that would cover your tracks.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by FooRat (182725)

      So the virus is found in the poor countryside of Mexico...

      And someone thinks it was created somewhere in a lab?

      I've heard some far out conspiracy theories, but creating a mild flu in a lab and then transported out to Colillacarajo, Mexico? That's just dumb.

      Yes, because it would make far more sense to release it right near the lab, of course ... nobody would *ever* guess *then*. Also, it makes much more sense to release it in a country far better prepared to not only contain any outbreak rapidly, but also far better able to analyse the genetic make-up and origins, in addition to analysing the spread of the disease for further clues on its origins.

      Actually, if you think about it for more than five seconds, if you *are* part of such a "conspiracy", it makes perf

    • I forgot Mexico had no labs! /sarcasm
    • by colfer (619105)
      Next to one of the largest* hog farms in the world, with almost 1,000,000 head.

      It's a farming town where most people commute into Mexico City for the work week, though.

      * I Googled "largest hog farm in the world" and came up with a lot of stories about the third largest one proposed, on an Indian reservation, at 859,000 head.
    • Huh? You're saying it's stupid to do something that others wouldn't anticipate?

      Here's the flaw in that reasoning, borrowed from South Park:

      Forensic Health Investigator: Vaccine Company X, um, did you deliberately engineer the Swine Flu Influenza so as to make obscenely huge amounts of money by selling the only cure?
      VCX: What? Nooooooooooooo, don't be ridiculous!
      FHI: Well, um, it looks like you did engineer it and all...
      VCX: Okay, FHI? Try to give us a little credit here. If we were going to start a pande

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by smellsofbikes (890263)

      On the maybe-inna-lab side, if you didn't want to be discovered you'd release it in an area where you'd reasonably expect a new disease to be discovered: a rural area where people, chickens, and swine live in comparatively close proximity. (And Mexico is an extra plus because it's much easier to smuggle samples from US labs to Mexico than to India or China: you just drive.)

      On the other hand, the CDC is spending some time and money investigating claims that the first cases were actually in San Diego in Sept

      • by Reziac (43301) *

        If the symptoms can be believed (and the projectile vomiting seems definitive enough), this "new flu" was here in north Los Angeles County last fall.

        It wouldn't surprise me if the actual direction of travel was from LA to SD and thence into Mexico, where it became a News Story because it hit Mexico a lot harder thanks to its currently atrocious living conditions.

         

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

      So the virus is found in the poor countryside of Mexico...

      And someone thinks it was created somewhere in a lab?

      I've heard some far out conspiracy theories, but creating a mild flu in a lab and then transported out to Colillacarajo, Mexico? That's just dumb.

      IIRC, that is precisely the plot for one of the episodes in season one of ReGenesis. Just because it was manufactured in a lab doesn't mean it was released on purpose. Whose to say that there isn't a "lab" out in the boonies - depending on what they are studying they may need some arable land in order to test grow some of their other experiments. One foul-up in their safety procedures and the wrong samples get released into the wild...

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by R2.0 (532027)

      I quibble - the virus is NOT mild. It is at least 10 times more lethal than seasonal flu (and that's including treatment with Tamiflu), and 10 times more likely to land you in the hospital. People are only calling it mild because it doesn't have the lethality of H5N1.

      Yet.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vertinox (846076)

      So the virus is found in the poor countryside of Mexico...

      Actually, I think the reason it was so widespread in Mexico was the Sunday communion at Church. Seeing that Mexico is primarily Catholic, one can assume they share that wine on Sunday morning. Now if you have ever participated you know that the most they do is wipe the chalice with a napkin or something.

      So my best guess is that someone had the flue went to communion and got everyone sick.

      • by Reziac (43301) *

        That's why we have individual little beakers (I forget what they're called) in the U.S., at least at every church I've seen in the past 50 years. It was recognised that sharing spit was a disease vector, and a needless risk to the congregation.

        And as I mention above -- we had this flu (if one can define it by the symptoms) in north L.A. County last fall. Chances are it went south, not north, and given conditions in Mexico, quickly became a News Story -- despite being nothing so odd while it was still in the

  • by internerdj (1319281) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @11:02AM (#27938007)
    Umbrella Corporation releases an apology saying its really, really sorry for unleashing the pandemic flu on the world. They do however guarantee they are taking the appropriate steps to ensure nothing like this will ever happen again.
  • What next? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Dan East (318230) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @11:04AM (#27938053) Homepage Journal

    Just waiting for a deaf mute, a #1 hit rock star, an unemployed factory worker and a knocked up teen to come out of the woodwork to fight a demon that wears cowboy boots.

  • Quick I need to hire some writers to do the 'Disease of the Week' movie for cable TV. Now who can I get cheap to play the evil scientists. I wonder if I could get George W. and Dick C., I hear they are currently unemployed or would that be type casting?
    • by bloobloo (957543)

      I would suggest Robert Towne as the writer, with Rade Serbedzija and/or Christian Manon to play the evil scientists. This may save you some time.

  • Whoopsie (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @11:07AM (#27938091) Homepage Journal
    Could their donation of millions of doses of tamaflu to the WHO a couple days ago be an attempt to hush someone up?

    If so it didn't work very well...

  • by MetaPhyzx (212830) * on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @11:10AM (#27938133)

    Obligatory nod to the fictional Captain Trips. Welcome to the real world. In other news, I'll be relocating to Boulder shortly...

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Here's a fun conspiracy theory: The real illness that actually kills people is on hot standby, and this was just a test to see what infection/spread rates would be like. They're just tuning the process to produce their desired results.

      There is a side effect though. If you got sick in the last run, expect to get sick in the next one... or plan to move before then.

      I'm not actually advancing this theory as reality, but it's still tempting to think about planning for it.

      • by rotide (1015173)
        The problem with these conspiracy theories is this single and simple flaw. You have to bring people in on the conspiracy to create it and set it in motion. In this sue happy world, you can bet your ass that at least one person "in on it" will blow the whistle. Maybe not for personal gain but at least to see someone burn. If these people are "evil" and cooking a world altering conspiracy, they would probably have no qualms cutting 401k's or health benefits of the other workers. This would be easily enou
  • "This is how science progresses," he said. "Somebody comes up with a wild idea, and then they all pounce on it and kick you to death, and then you start off on another silly idea."
    -- the Author of the Study, Adrian Gibbs, 75,

  • Damn! Those rural Mexico biotech labs are really sloppy. I bet the authorities have not been paying attention to their safety practices.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Queen takes N1, checkmate.

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @11:17AM (#27938243)

    A Virus of such evil that can make most of the population miserable for about a week. However because of a catchy name, and the few people who did die from it didn't quite fit the normal flu victim profile.

    Such a thing must be a human fault for creating such a weapon of mass annoyance. Or... It could just be what happens naturally in the word.

    • Such a thing must be a human fault for creating such a weapon of mass annoyance. Or... It could just be what happens naturally in the word.

      Why do you think humans necessarily did this? Think about it for a minute.

      We all know that Douglas Adams was right.

      Where do you find lots of mice and pigs together? Right?

      This was just their first attempt. They're just going to practice a bit more until they get this right. Be afraid.

      Be very afraid.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Viruses aren't evil.

      Speaking of weapon of mass annoyance. [youtube.com]

  • "I don't think it could be a malignant thing," he said. "It's much more likely that some random thing has put these two viruses together."

    [to Mr. Incredible]
    Syndrome: Oh, no. Elastigirl? You married Elastigirl? Ho, ho, ho...
    [sees the kids]
    Syndrome: Oh - and got biz-zay!

  • âoeYou really want a very sober assessmentâ of the science behind the claim, Fukuda said May 11 at the WHOâ(TM)s Geneva headquarters.

    No thanks. I'll take drunken hysteria please.

  • I was laughing about it (the conspiracy us government release of HIV story), until I talked to a friend of mine doing research in retroviruses... and he got a real thoughtful look on his face and said "you know..."
    So, I wouldn't put it past anyone to release a virus... by mistake or on purpose.
    • by erroneus (253617)

      I know the feeling. I worked for architects and structural engineers who designed buildings of all types including giant ones like the twin towers... they think the way they buildings fell were rather suspect. These are people who know how things are built and demolished.

  • I didn't know that hanging chicken cages over the pig pen constituted a "lab" nowadays, but ok.

    ~kulakovich

    ps - yeah, it is so the pigs get to eat the chicken waste, and exactly how this type of thing happens.
    • by Reziac (43301) *

      It works even better to let ducks live right in the pigpen. That's how it's done in Chinese virus labs, anyway. ;)

  • Wasn't this the plot of the ReGenesis tv series? Life imitates tv?

  • by idontgno (624372) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @12:01PM (#27938931) Journal
    "What the..? This is lemonade! What happened to my culture of amoebic dysentery?"
  • Gibbs said that he came to his conclusion as part of an effort to trace the virus's origins by analyzing its genetic blueprint.

    Genetic recipe, not blueprint [blogspot.com]

  • Media grab attempt (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @12:23PM (#27939255)

    Anon because I played a role in what will be the official response to this claim.

    This claim is bullshit. There is *no evidence* to support his claims.

    Science progresses when you come up with a credible theory. It makes testable claims based on actual evidence, the current theories fail to explain it, and you have to come up with a new explanation.

    This isn't that. This is just a silly idea. It generates press, it eats up valuable time from the members of the flu community, and it will amount to nothing.

    No one denies that the current virus is weird. But weird doesn't mean man-made. This is not the first time that Adrian Gibbs has been at odds with the flu community, and he is yet to present credible scientific claim based on fact.

    The burden of proof lies with the person who puts forward the wild idea. Once you know that reassortant viruses like this one have been in the swine population for at least the last 10 years, and that the most recent pandemic virus (1968) also came from swine, it is going to take a mountain of evidence to prove this.

    It would be impossible to prove that this virus didn't come from a man-made source, so the tin-foil hat brigade will never be satisfied.

    For the rest of the population - this is a media grab attempt, and has no basis in fact. Please treat it as such.

  • Okay (Score:5, Funny)

    by jav1231 (539129) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @12:46PM (#27939671)
    The suspense is killing me! WHO Investigates Claims That Swine Flu Resulted From Human Error??
  • There is a book that links a US government lab with the creation and US release of a large number of diseases. It read it. It was an interesting read. Try it yourself.
    http://www.amazon.com/Lab-257-Disturbing-Governments-Laboratory/dp/006078184X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1242233395&sr=8-1
  • by zebslash (1107957) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @01:11PM (#27940049)

    Even if this were true, does that mean we should stop doing research on virus and vaccine ? Of course not !

    Maybe confinment of labs should be improved if this were proven to be true. However, I prefer to live in the XXI century where smallpox has been eradicated thanks to Pasteur rather than banning all this research and having a life expectancy of 40 years.

    PS: I am a biologist and have worked in confined labs.

  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @01:18PM (#27940157) Journal

    It seems unlikely that this one was made in a lab, by accident or otherwise. Pigs, which swap Influenza both with humans and passing birds, are a natural place for this sort of mixing to occur. But given that it could have happened by a double accident in a sloppy lab (first getting two strains into the same egg, then getting a worker exposed to the result before it's harvested and killed to make vaccine material) it's worth checking.

    But announcing it this way just broke security-by-obscurity on a way to make a pandemic on-the-cheap. Fertile eggs, samples of live viruses you want to hybridize, and a minimum of additional equipment and it's something virtually anybody with a spare room and a bit of time and effort could do. As a side-effect it gives them the material to make a vaccine for their own people in the process, long before the virus needs to be tried out on test subjects to test for virulence.

    So while this one is no doubt an accident - most likely in the wild, MAYBE in a vaccine lab - don't be surprised if a later one is not. The press coverage of this speculation just showed the world how to replicate the first chapters of "The Stand" on a minimal budget.

  • 1. Create Virus
    2. Create Vaccine
    3. Release Virus ...
    4. Profit


  • Lab Sr.: Who is on first?
    Lab Jr.: No, but I know WHO is investigating us for the swine flu.
    Lab Sr.: I must know, tell me who is investigating us?
    Lab Jr.: I am telling you, WHO is investigating us.
    Lab Sr.: Don't question me, who is investigating us?!
    Lab Jr.: WHO is! WHO is investigating us!
    Lab Sr.: That's what I am trying to find out, why won't you tell me WHO is investigating us.
    Lab Jr.: Nevermind, who is on first?

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James

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