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Mutant Flu Researchers Declare a Time Out 224

New submitter scibri writes "Researchers working on highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza have said they will stop work on the virus for 60 days, to allow them to explain the importance of their work to politicians and the public. Quoting: 'Despite the positive public-health benefits these studies sought to provide, a perceived fear that the ferret-transmissible H5 HA viruses may escape from the laboratories has generated intense public debate in the media on the benefits and potential harm of this type of research. We would like to assure the public that these experiments have been conducted with appropriate regulatory oversight in secure containment facilities by highly trained and responsible personnel to minimize any risk of accidental release.'" Reader Harperdog sends in a related article arguing that we shouldn't be having a debate about the censorship of research, but rather a debate over whether the research should have been allowed in the first place.
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Mutant Flu Researchers Declare a Time Out

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  • by kelarius ( 947816 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @03:04PM (#38765462)

    comparing creating fire to creating a super flu is retarded. When they screw up and it is released, and they will f*ck up, they are humans, i hope your the first one infected.

    This statement is just fucking retarded and ignorant. There has been research going on like this for the better part of a century, including WEAPONIZING even more dangerous bugs than the flu, and none of that has ever been released. Why does everyone think that this one will be any different, the system is proven to work and I'm not the least bit concerned.

  • Sustainability (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 20, 2012 @03:09PM (#38765566)

    What they are working on is a way to create a sustainable world with a far smaller population. You can't just line people up against the wall and shoot them or poison them as the Nazis did but a global epidemic accidentally released from a laboratory will serve just as well and with a far smaller number of people that need to be held accountable.

  • Re:Too short? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @03:46PM (#38766262)

    lol If that's even remotely true, then I definitely want any pandemic-capable viruses worked on in level 4 labs.

    You inspired me to look it up. []

    "Biosafety level 3
    This level is applicable to clinical, diagnostic, teaching, research, or production facilities in which work is done with indigenous or exotic agents which may cause serious or potentially lethal disease after inhalation.[7] It includes various bacteria, parasites and viruses that can cause severe to fatal disease in humans but for which treatments exist, such as" ... blah blah blah. Key words, "treatments exist." []

    60% fatal, vaccine being developed. In other words, no treatments exist, and it's highly deadly.

    Yeah, let's go with BSL4, please.

  • by Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @03:48PM (#38766296)

    I dont think the argument is over whether it should be studied or not. After a little digging, the argument seems to be over the fact that they are studying it in Biosafety Level 3 facilities, instead of BSL4. As my post below states, BSL3 is for treatable diseases, and BSL4 is for untreatable ones. This one isn't, and should be in BSL4 according to those rules.

  • by zooblethorpe ( 686757 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:14PM (#38766674)

    ...the really bad stuff that the evolution of these virii WILL produce at some point.


    You sound like an idiot.

    Indeed. The closest Latin word to virii would be viri, which is just the plural for vir, "a man". So I guess the GGP might be right -- "the evolution of these virii^Wmen" *has* produced some really bad stuff.

    More pedantically though, assuming virii existed as the plural of some Latin word, the rules state that the singular would be virius -- still not virus, and not a word in any language that I'm aware of.

    Going the other way from singular to plural and using basic Latin rules, many people might look at virus and assume you just change the -us to -i to make the plural, but that gives us viri again -- meaning "men" as the plural of "a man". Looking deeper, we find that the actual Latin word virus was uncountable [], so it never even had a plural in Latin -- so applying Latin rules for deriving the plural is just silly.

    Applying English rules for plural formation to the *countable* *English* word virus gives us the proper plural form viruses.


God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"