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Medicine Biotech

Paper On Super Flu Strain May Be Banned From Publication 754

Pierre Bezukhov writes with this excerpt from an article at Doctor Tipster: "A Dutch researcher has created a virus with the potential to kill half of the planet's population. Now, researchers and experts in bioterrorism debate whether it is a good idea to publish the virus creation 'recipe'. However, several voices argue that such research should have not happened in the first place. The virus is a strain of avian influenza H5N1 genetically modified to be extremely contagious ... created by researcher Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam, Netherlands. The work was first presented at a conference dedicated to influenza that took place in September in Malta."
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Paper On Super Flu Strain May Be Banned From Publication

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  • Peh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @09:22PM (#38197320) Homepage Journal
    Someone has probably already crafted a similar version in a distant private or military research lab anyway. Its better that it got out and fixes are prepared.
  • So... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2011 @09:22PM (#38197326)

    ...that is what will happen to the 99%

  • M-O-O-N (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2011 @09:28PM (#38197372)

    That spells life imitating art!

  • by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @09:29PM (#38197386) Homepage

    If it was done, the information's out there. If the work's already been presented at a conference, it's pretty much a guarantee the black-hats have it. And if they don't already, they know it can be done and they've got enough clues to know where to go looking. So the question isn't whether we give the black-hats the information or not, it's whether only the black-hats get the information or whether the white-hats get it too. I'd rather have the information circulated so doctors and public health systems know what to look for and how to treat it when it shows up.

  • Re:Peh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aerorae ( 1941752 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @09:29PM (#38197388)
    Agreed. This merely shows the rest of us that not only CAN it be done, but that it HAS been done and certainly CAN be done in the future!

    Hiding the information just gives those who want to keep it all for themselves more time to do awful things.
  • Counterpoint (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ugglybabee ( 2435320 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @09:29PM (#38197394)

    "Whatever doesn't kill us, makes us stronger..."

    Whatever kills us, makes us dead.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2011 @09:31PM (#38197408)

    Unless it cripples us. People always forget about the cripples.

  • by meerling ( 1487879 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @09:34PM (#38197434)
    A few years back some researchers (Australian?) accidentally made an infector much much more dangerous. That's why the scientist need to share this data. It's so they can understand this process and use that knowledge to defeat diseases. It's like getting over a canyon a persistent but ignorant person can eventually succeed by throwing rocks at it till it fills up, but an engineer can design and build a bridge in a fraction of the time and resources.
    With regards to the fears of terrorists, it's not a high probability, most of them wouldn't have the vaguest idea what to do with that information, the few that are left know enough to not be stupid enough to release a superplague on the planet. Your biggest worry should be the Military making a superplague, and being stupid enough to let someone dumb enough to use it actually get access to some of it.

    If you stop research because you are afraid that terrorists might use it, you would have to stop all research of any kind.
  • Too late (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mortiss ( 812218 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @09:41PM (#38197526)
    "A genetic study showed that new virus strain presented five mutations, and all could be also observed in nature - but only separately, not all five combined."
    With this sentence, they have practically gave it away already. All one has to do now is to scan the scientific literature for the appropriate five mutations that confer increased airborne transmissibility, perform site directed mutagenesis and voila.

    They should follow the footsteps of Australian researches (who inserted IL4 gene into the mousepox creating a very lethal strain) and publish this anyway.
  • by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @09:42PM (#38197546)

    That's your assumption. I'd rather we operate under the assumption that the black-hats don't have it. First of all, that seems more likely (it's not as though the full recipe would be presented at a conference), and secondly the penalty for releasing it if they don't have it is much worse than the penalty for withholding it if they do have it.


    00) Black hats don't have it, we don't release it. Very Good! No one has to die.
    01) Black hats don't have it, we do release it. Very Bad! We just gave the tools for murder on an unprecedented scale to everyone who wants them.
    10) Black hats have it, we don't release it. Bad. When and if they use it, we will be somewhat delayed while we realize "Hey, there's this new superflu that seems a lot like the one that Dutch guy came up with."
    11) Black hats have it, we do release it. Maybe good. We save some time researching cures, at the cost of making the recipe even more available than it already is (and thus saving the bad guys some time obtaining it).

    Make your own little game theory chart. Unless there is a very high probability that they have it, we're better off not releasing it. And as I said before, they likely don't have the whole thing.

    I know this is Slashdot and a lot of people think that information wants to be free, but trust me on this. The information doesn't give a shit. Some things really should be kept secret.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2011 @09:44PM (#38197556)
    Turn in that computer you're posting to slashdot with, lad. That's scientist product too.
  • Re:Peh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @09:44PM (#38197562)

    So just because some (likely stable) government has it, we should give it to all comers? That's absolutely insane. Distrust the US government all you want, but they are far less likely to release a superflu into the wild than some random nutjob with a biology degree and an axe to grind.

  • Re:Peh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrBigInThePants ( 624986 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @09:48PM (#38197602)

    I agree, obfuscation is not security.

    Wait...did I post this in the right topic??

  • Re:Peh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2011 @09:55PM (#38197658)

    Then you can be thankful for the herd immunity that your more sensible peers are providing.

  • Re:Peh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by evil_aaronm ( 671521 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @09:59PM (#38197688)

    Three words: Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment.

  • Re:Peh. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @09:59PM (#38197690)
    on an off topic: wtf has the doomsday clock got to do with climate change? did they just have to jump on the global warming band wagon? they're bloody atomic scientists, not hippies. Same goes for biosecurity
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2011 @10:01PM (#38197710)

    No, it's more along the lines that the barbarians who conquered Rome did so by traveling along Roman roads to get there. One could say, yeah those stupid Romans shouldn't have built those highways, they just gave the terrorists mass transit abilities (i.e., mass transit Iron Age style...) but the Romans used those roads for trade and commerce. The question that's missing here is what this highly contagious flu research is useful for. While it's possible, I highly doubt the guy is a mad scientist, so... who funded him and why? What's the purpose of this research? In the very last paragraph they give the answer:

    On the other hand, if the study becomes available for the scientific community, it could allow researchers to ”be prepared” for a potential H5N1 pandemic. Since Fouchier’s study suggests that the risk for this to occur is greater than previously thought. Some researchers believe that banning the paper will leave mankind helpless if the virus naturally mutates and becomes contagious.

    There you go, if you see a flu virus gaining the five mutations discussed in TFA, you know you're going to be in trouble.

  • by pesho ( 843750 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @10:13PM (#38197808)

    That's your assumption. I'd rather we operate under the assumption that the black-hats don't have it. First of all, that seems more likely (it's not as though the full recipe would be presented at a conference), and secondly the penalty for releasing it if they don't have it is much worse than the penalty for withholding it if they do have it.

    Your assumptions are one sided. There is enough information to make the virus. The influenza virus is well studied and there is a wealth of information down to atomic level in some cases how it functions. We know the genetic background (H5N1), we know that the strain has a combination of naturally occurring mutations, and we know that we can use ferrets to test it. It doesn't take much trial and error to figure out the correct combination. Even if the presented information is misleading, the fact that the virus can be made more aggressive is enough. It is trivial to culture and has very short reproduction cycle,which allows anyone with a little time on their hands to do selective evolution. If they don't publish somebody else will repeat the experiments and publish the data instead. I wouldn't be worried about biotherorists. Making, containing and using bioweapons is hard, dangerous and extremely expensive. You can't cook it in your basement.

  • I'd Say No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RobinEggs ( 1453925 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @10:15PM (#38197838)
    I know half of you are screaming at your monitors that "security through obscurity is no security at all", but security in biological information is not like that of computer code and hardware.

    It all comes down the the breadth and transparency of the ecosystem, in my layman's opinion. It's entirely plausible with, for example, Adobe software running on Windows operating systems to say that if White Hat A found it then certainly Grey Hat B and Mustache Twirling Russian Mafioso Black Hat C will find it or have already found and exploited it. Those are specific, limited, and completely knowable ecosystems invented entirely by humans, however. Of course someone else will find it; the universe in which "it" lives isn't terribly large, when you really look at the situation.

    Biology, on the other hand, is much bigger and much more mysterious; we're far stupider in biology than in any other science. We certainly didn't invent, do not control, and do not understand the ecosystems involved. You know far less from the sentence "I found five mutations that transform a particular H5N1 into a global killer." than you do from the sentence "I found a stack overflow hack in Acrobat which lets me read any pdf the target machine opens."

    In short, security through obscurity actually gets you a very long way in biological research. Not to mention that creating a virus is a lot faster than creating the vaccine; perhaps a substance of which a single vial released in downtown Detroit could kill half the humans on Earth long before the antidote was invented and adequately synthesized isn't the place to object on principle some deliberate obscurity.

    Seriously, look at the way flu vaccines are prepared. Maybe people should argue for the development of a faster way of inventing and growing vaccine (that is to say, faster than trial-and-error monkey testing followed by incubation in chicken eggs) before they request that blueprints for a killer flu become public information.
  • Re:Peh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Luckyo ( 1726890 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @10:20PM (#38197876)

    Idiot's luck.

  • by pipedwho ( 1174327 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @10:30PM (#38197964)

    The black-hats might have it, but the question is do you really want to release it to all the script-kiddies?

  • Re:Peh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by syousef ( 465911 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @10:31PM (#38197980) Journal

    Then you can explain to me why those who are supposedly providing me "herd immunity" get visibly infected and sick on a regular basis, and I don't.
      Hint - it's not any so-called "immune response" from their vaccines.

    I'll bite, is it because you're so obnoxious that nobody and no disease wants to be around you???

    You have no idea what you're talking about. Immunisation has it's risks (and it would not carry any risk if it was snake oil). But the benefit far outweighs the risk. You may well have a good immune system. I'll also agree that an overly sanitary environment is not good for children and that some germs will help their immunity, but you have to be selective. I don't let my children play in their own vomit, faeces and urine for instance, nor our dog's. I don't let them eat their dinner straight off the floor. The bottom line is that your chances of surviving a new deadly disease depends largely upon immunisation. Entire diseases have been eliminated. I don't care that you don't like it - the truth does not bend to a person's whims.

  • Re:Peh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jhon ( 241832 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @10:33PM (#38197994) Homepage Journal

    Three more words: Apples and Oranges.

    Not to excuse the inexcusable, but to deliberately fail to treat disease with very limited communicability and long incubation period is hardly the same is releasing Captain Trips... While I might think my country can make some pretty stupid choices, they aren't the kind that would destroy civilization.

  • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @10:34PM (#38198000) Journal

    "Whatever doesn't kill us, makes us stronger..."

    Nonsense. There are things that won't kill you but will leave you weak like an infant, so that you suffer miserably until something else comes along and kills you.

    Friedrich Nietzsche was a moron.

  • Re:Peh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Grave ( 8234 ) <> on Monday November 28, 2011 @10:43PM (#38198066)

    While it's true that those factors would reduce the spread and effectiveness of such an outbreak, the ease and speed of worldwide travel serve to negate that and then some.

  • Re:Peh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mbkennel ( 97636 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @10:43PM (#38198070)

    This is false. It is not like a computer patch.

    The fix may be a vaccine against one particular instantiation---and deploying vaccines to 7 billion people for a virus which doesn't exist naturally is a big and expensive problem. There's no such thing as auto-update. This is real and expensive and will take away resources from other things which could also improve people's help. Any failures mean people, like your family, will die.

    The real danger is that the techniques and insight involved could be used to make a wide variety of weaponizable viruses, in which case one might face a wave of dangerous viruses each of which is not covered by the previous's virusweapon's vaccine. These waves would sweep faster than vaccines could be isolated and produced (which for influenza is about 9 months to a year---for this you have to count proven manufacturing not some future hope of how something might work). How fast can Dr Evil produce new sequences? A bunch faster.

    If the description of the research is accurate, this is like publishing a paper on how to manufacture, and mass-produce thermonuclear weaponry with the tech available in a typical university lab, without using any expensive fissile nuclear materials or isotopic separation. What a wonderful world.

  • Re:Peh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @10:44PM (#38198078) Homepage Journal
    I kinds agree with you, actually. Decades ago when I was a youngster, the immunizations I received probably did protect me from grevious illness. But I tell you this - Back when I was growing up, the flu was something everybody(even kids) just caught and dealt with. Yeah, it was uncomfortable and it sucked, but nobody ran to be vaccinated against it, flailing their arms like the flu was a death sentence. And to deny that ever-increasing numbers of vaccines are being unnecessarily shoved up our asses, thanks toi the lobbying power of big pharma, is naive.

    My cynical stance is not that of immunology being voodoo. It is that increased politicization through fearmongering is making a joke out of science, making way to big a deal out of what is just an uncomfortable fact of life.
  • Re:Peh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2011 @10:50PM (#38198106)

    A strong immune system vs a specific virus are two different things. Having your immune system exposed to various bacteria and viruses (on non-dangerous levels) helps strengthen your system to recognize and fight it. In fact, that's EXACTLY what a vaccination is! What you are doing (exposing yourself to common bacteria and virus) and vaccination are both the SAME THING but one is controlled while the other isn't. The problem with your method is that it doesn't NOT strengthen your immune system to viruses not common or are unique. You body can not fight what it does not know. Your body can only know by actually having it, and by having it, you must hopefully live long enough for your immune system to respond (some viruses can kill you before that time). That is why vaccination was created (basically nurtured bacteria/viruses) which introduces these unique viruses/bacteria so your body can learn about it. No matter how much you naturally expose your body, there are many things your body will never be exposed to.

    Herd immunity implies prevention of SPECIFIC often rarer viruses. A vaccine for polo only prevent polo, not the common cold if you didn't realize it.

    The immune system isn't so clear cut as strong / weak. Rather then that, it's more about how much it can recognize cells as dangers. An antivirus software is a good example. A good antivirus software can prevent alot of viruses but some it will not recognize as dangers. While a poor one may not be as good, as long as it can recognize certain viruses, it can prevent those specific viruses.

    Speaking about regular sickness (generic) and comparing it against vaccination (targeted/specific) shows that you obviously know nothing.

  • by mbkennel ( 97636 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @10:58PM (#38198178)

    "You have to assume that the other side (be it an enemy nation, a terrorist, a tax collector, or whatever) can obtain the information if they wanted it. It's stupid to assume they can't know (they're capable of spying)."

    This is false. Sufficiently strong security measures mean that only the most determined adversary can obtain the information if they wanted. In practice this means that the information will be available to intelligence agencies of the most advanced nation-states and nobody else (for example, who has detailed thermonuclear weapons design knowledge? there is apparently one 1960's era secret not at all yet publicly revealed.). These people have institutional and practical barriers to instigating mass genocide.

    However, there are many smaller groups with insufficient capability to penetrate a well-protected technical secret (e.g. TS/SCI) but more than enough capability to do some apparently reasonably simple molecular biology.

    This is a historically unique situation.

  • This is crap... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Genda ( 560240 ) <> on Monday November 28, 2011 @10:58PM (#38198180) Journal

    The flu in question is highly responsive to modern flu anti-virals as well as "MODERN MEDICAL TREATMENTS". What made this flu so devastating in the first place was its ability to cause a life threatening immune responses in young healthy adults, ultimately damaging the lungs so badly that victims drowned in their own body fluids. That's why this particular flu devastated healthy 20-somethings when it first spread as a global pandemic.

    An outbreak today could easily be mitigated and seeing as the people most at risk would have viable medical treatments to prevent both spread and lethal complications this flu would be unable to produce the catastrophic effects it created in its first run through the human population.

    The real threat would be an outbreak in a place like Africa, where a large infected population could become a huge bio-reactor evolving the virus into a real monster that was both lethal and untreatable. So our best bet for world pandemics in general are to place special focus on developing nations and make certain they have the resources needed to stop outbreaks of both old and new diseases.

  • by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @11:09PM (#38198244)

    Someone has probably already crafted a similar version in a distant private or military research lab anyway. Its better that it got out and fixes are prepared.

    Actually various independently crafted versions may be different enough that a "cure" for one is ineffective against another.

    True enough, but having practice in developing "solutions" for dozens of similar problems is a lot better than starting from sulfa drugs and trying to work your way up.

  • Re:Peh. (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2011 @11:16PM (#38198280)

    1. Exposure via vaccination to an attenuated or dead virus is not the same as exposure to wild variants, and in many cases does not produce full immunity - why are booster doses recommended for many vaccinations?.
    2. Your computer antivirus analogy is weak. Some computer viruses are "defeated" by having their signature recognised by the software (IOW, vaccination), and some are defeated by heuristic methods (more like a strong immune system).
    How many times is it necessary to say this before it gets through - you are exposed to wild disease-causing viruses and bacteria ALL THE TIME. I haven't had a tetanus booster for many years, yet I'm exposed to garden dirt and all its pathogens every time I dig through the vege garden and especially when I receive puncture wounds in said garden. Why haven't I caught tetanus? Luck? I doubt it.

  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @11:18PM (#38198300) Journal

    Unless it cripples us. People always forget about the cripples.

    That's because we more or less wiped out Polio with a program of mass vaccinations.
    Back then, if the anti-vaxxers were around in full force like they are now,
    we'd probably still have significant numbers of crippled adults and children to this day.

  • Re:Peh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by masternerdguy ( 2468142 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @11:20PM (#38198320)
    Not only that, but we're not talking about an ordinary strain here. This strain has been created in order to kill as many people as possible. Saying that people should just deal with a man-made bioweapon is like saying anthrax victims are a bunch of whiners.
  • Re:Peh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mbkennel ( 97636 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @11:23PM (#38198342)

    "Terrorists generally want to target specific sub-populations of the human species, whether that sub-population be defined by nationality, ethnicity, wealth etc."

    yes, their massive car bombs are exceptionally precise.

  • Re:Peh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rednip ( 186217 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @11:49PM (#38198570) Journal
    No, you don't agree with him, at all. As I see it, you're just glad that you got vaccinated as a kid because you are certain that you benefited from it directly. However, it seem that you'd hold those fancy new vaccines as suspicious. Why? Obviously you're intelligent enough to understand decades of research and improved scientific method that has lead to the current state of immunization. Certainly you couldn't be unaware of the death toll of disease was once considerable. Why would you ignore all that information? Do you consider it some sort of political stance?
  • Re:Peh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2011 @12:25AM (#38198780)

    Three words: Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment

    You're right. It's high time that the administration that was responsible for that episode was finally voted out of office. It's hard to believe that - after all these decades - they're still setting such policies, and still running those sorts of tests.

  • Re:Peh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by paper tape ( 724398 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2011 @12:30AM (#38198812)
    This sort of thing is why I've been saying for the last few years that I am far more concerned about terrorists with bioweapons than terrorists with nukes. The bioweapons are cheaper and easier to make, the raw materials easier to obtain, and the consequences of use potentially far more severe.
  • Re:Peh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dzimas ( 547818 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2011 @12:42AM (#38198876)
    Modded Insightful? Disseminating this research simply assists anyone insane enough to create and release a similar strain into the wild. Knowledge doesn't grant biological immunity. You'll just have a better cognitive grasp of what's killing you.
  • Re:Peh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday November 29, 2011 @12:49AM (#38198918) Journal

    "You know why we haven't detected any aliens? why we haven't picked up broadcasts of I Love Lucy starring three headed people? Its because of this, they get to this point in their evolution and then they destroy themselves"..The Outer Limits: Final Exam []

    In that episode it was a cold fusion bomb but the sentiment is the same. With technological progress comes increased danger and if one makes a leap or breakthrough in one place then as you pointed out others are already on that path, and as the technology becomes easier and cheaper and the knowledge more widely available all it takes is one nut with a cause and the right technological know how to create a recipe for a worldwide holocaust.

    Imagine just getting on a plane while carrying this superflu in say London? How far would you have it spread before you were no longer able to continue?

  • Re:Peh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jhon ( 241832 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2011 @12:51AM (#38198930) Homepage Journal

    Because he's just ITCHING to push the button, right?

    Or maybe ... that button has kept the peace between the super powers. And it's not that US, USSR and China where you have to worry about a madman pushing the button, it's some non-nation setting off a few stolen (or provided) nukes...

    In the context of the conversation above,you need to rememer nukes don't make the US suicidal crazy -- and not in the context of overly sensitive and paranoid anti-americanism.

  • Re:Peh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by greentshirt ( 1308037 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2011 @02:03AM (#38199356)
    Sorry, but Muslims don't have a monopoly on Batshit Crazy, plenty of that in the Christianity and other religions too. In fact, plenty of that in secular circles. Language is important, once we start equating words like "terrorist" with "Muslim", we're all one step stupider. If George Dubya Bush was smart enough to avoid making that jump, I have faith that you can be too.
  • Re:Peh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mr100percent ( 57156 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2011 @02:33AM (#38199492) Homepage Journal

    Heck, the regular flu kills 20,000 Americans a year but gets almost no news attention.

  • Re:Peh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Baseclass ( 785652 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2011 @02:34AM (#38199506)
    Witness the makings of the Fermi paradox in all it's glory.
  • Re:Peh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Surt ( 22457 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2011 @02:37AM (#38199520) Homepage Journal

    If you're trying to spread it deliberately, don't get on a plane, hang out in the airport.

  • Re:Peh. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 29, 2011 @04:27AM (#38199920)
    It's also hard for Dutch homosexuals to openly hold hands in public these days, because of angry Muslim youths give them a hard time.
  • Re:Peh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by paper tape ( 724398 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2011 @04:34AM (#38199948)
    You assume that the terrorists are not willing to kill half the planet to accomplish their goals, even if half their own people die in the process. They've already proven repeatedly that they're willing to sacrifice their own lives and those of their own people to commit terrorist acts.

    If half the world population were to die off (in equal percentages everywhere), countries like the US, UK and Germany would be vastly more affected in terms of productivity, influence, and ability to project military power than countries like Afghanistan, Yemen or Pakistan.

    The actual deaths would likely vary somewhat from one country to another - but industrialized nations would still be the most affected, and the terrorists could easily see the deaths of half their own people as an acceptable cost.
  • Re:Peh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 29, 2011 @10:40AM (#38201904)

    Not only that, but we're not talking about an ordinary strain here. This strain has been created in order to kill as many people as possible. Saying that people should just deal with a man-made bioweapon is like saying anthrax victims are a bunch of whiners.

    Sensationalist and wildly inaccurate.

    First of all, the strain does not have a higher killing rate than H5N1. What he changed is the ease with which it jumps from human to human, it's not any more deadly than the H5N1 we all know. As a matter of fact It has not been created to kill anyone at all, other than a few lab mice and monkeys. We're not talking about some mad scientist trying to kill humanity here, we're talking about some brilliant people trying to save YOUR sorry arse.

    Second, what we are talking about here IS an ordinary strain. VERY ordinary. So ordinary that we can be almost 100% certain that this version of the strain will mutate naturally in the near future. This is exactly the reason that it was created in the first place, to give us a head start trying to defend ourselves against it BEFORE it kills off half the earth's population.

    Thanks for another round of FUD and assorted excrement.

The road to ruin is always in good repair, and the travellers pay the expense of it. -- Josh Billings