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One of Two Hotly Debated Avian Flu Papers Finally Published 52

daveschroeder writes "After a marathon debate over a pair of studies that show how the avian H5N1 influenza virus could become transmissible in mammals, and an unprecedented recommendation by the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) to block publication, and its subsequent reversal, a study by Yoshihiro Kawaoka at the University of Wisconsin–Madison was finally and fully published today. 'Experimental adaptation of an influenza H5 HA confers respiratory droplet transmission to a reassortant H5 HA/H1N1 virus in ferrets' appears in the journal Nature."
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One of Two Hotly Debated Avian Flu Papers Finally Published

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  • Death (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I don't want to sound fatalistic, but one day or another one of those guys makes a mistake and then 90% percent of mankind is going to die.

    • Re:Death (Score:5, Insightful)

      by busyqth ( 2566075 ) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @04:36PM (#39872549)
      The key insight escaped you: It won't be a mistake.
      • Well, look on the bright side: no one will have to worry about those Facebook timelines. With any luck there is a test tube somewhere ensuring we'll all be dead before the IPO when they'll actually raise the money to debug that shit.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I hate to break it to you but 100% of mankind is going to die... ...eventually. Not all at once we hope.

    • by bobwrit ( 1232148 ) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @04:40PM (#39872605) Homepage Journal
      This isn't particularly new for the human race. Look at MAD, for example(which is still fairly real - We still do have enough nukes to wipe out all life on the planet fairly effectively). One person, with their finger on the trigger, could slip up and 'accidentally' push the button, and cause not only the death of Humans, but also others. I'm sure there are other examples of humans having a large amount of control over the advancement of the human race, but that's the one that popped into mind. As we grow, and advance technologically, we'll keep developing even better ways of effectively causing ourselves/other species to become extinct. We're a violent race, when you think about it. While I don't like it, I'm just trying to be realistic as far as looking at humanities tendencies.
      • The problem with the "enough nukes to end all life on earth" argument is than it assumes we set out to carpet-bomb the planet, which is almost certainly not what would happen. The actual plan would be to simultaneously fire enough nukes at each important target to vaporize it several times over in the hopes that enough missiles would get past your enemy's defenses to at least cripple it. The worst-case scenario would be both sides defenses crumble under the onslaught and the targets (at a guess? all major

    • Biologists have always been risking our extinction. I mean, the Cuban Sniffle Crisis? Hello? Didn't we learn ANYTHING from that?

      I'm sorry, what's that? Cuban MISSILE crisis? Humanity has been flirting with it's own extinction through science for quite a while now? We still have enough nukes to destroy the world several times over, and this virus hasn't even been created yet?

      Well, I mean, still, DEADLY DISEASES, we've never played around with that before, that's unique! What are we thinking?
      • And a naturally-occurring disease like Ebola could get into a major international airport and have much the same effect?

        We now have a pretty effective Ebola vaccine [] and even before the vaccine the virus just wasn't all that contagious. People sick with the disease have traveled in crowded cities and crowded aircraft without a single recorded case of transmission.

        Ebola is a very nasty disease if you haven't had the vaccine and certain varieties have very high mortality rates, but all of the outbreaks have been self-limiting and there haven't been any confirmed cases of airborne transmission of any of the strains that affect h

    • I don't want to sound fatalistic, but one day or another one of those guys makes a mistake and then 90% percent of mankind is going to die.

      On the bright side, Al Gore will finally be correct. The debate regarding AWG will truly be over...

      Among the remaining 10% of the population. Nature will have shown us it's solution. Not that anyone will be giving it any thought at that point. ;-)

      • Nature will have shown us it's solution.

        Nature by means of human scientists and genetic engineering?

        • AFAICT, this isn't genetic engineering, just old fashioned selective breeding.

          And if selective breeding can manage it, it can happen on its own if the proper selection pressure comes into play.

    • by pesho ( 843750 )
      Yeah, that's what biologist spend their time on. Trying to figure out how to make bug deadlier to humans. I suggest we get rid of them scientist and go back to the good old small pox/black death/polyo days.
  • i too eagerly await the publication of the step-by-step recipes for making transmissible flu i have those cool alton brown bed bath and beyond measuring cylinders and everything
    • by pesho ( 843750 )
      You will be wasting your time, unless you also know how to make it resistant to current vaccines and neuraminidase inhibitors:

      To assess whether current control measures may be effective against the H5 transmissible reassortant mutant virus, we examined the reactivity of sera from individuals vaccinated with an H5N1 prototype vaccine38 against a virus possessing the N158D/N224K/Q226L/T318I mutations in HA. We found that pooled human sera from individuals immunized with this vaccine reacted with the virus possessing the mutant H5 HA (N158D/N224K/Q226L/T318I) at a higher titre than with a wild-type H5 HA virus (VN1203/PR8; Supplementary Table 6), indicating that current H5N1 vaccines would be efficacious against the H5 transmissible reassortant mutant virus. In addition, the H5 transmissible reassortant mutant virus (HA(N158D/N224K/Q226L/T318I)/CA04) was highly susceptible to a licensed NA inhibitor, oseltamivir (Supplementary Table 7). These experiments show that appropriate control measures would be available to combat the transmissible virus described in this study.

  • by mwfischer ( 1919758 ) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @04:49PM (#39872671) Journal


    Really. It wouldn't have happened. [] /did I make a funny?

  • Guess that doing a risk analysis before releasing the papers wasn't the end of the world after all.

  • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @06:28PM (#39873509)

    What nobody seems to get is that by suppressing research into viruses and how they spread guarantees that MomNature, when she comes up with one, will make a virus to kill us all while we are standing around unprepared.

    MomNature, unlike terrorists, doesn't sleep. Ever. Because evolution, baby.

    Sure, use that "Ahmed the Goatfucker Terrorist" bad-movie-plot to justify silencing science. It will eventually come around to bite all of us in the ass.

    ...[B]ecause the grim reaper bears no doubt, cares not if you have prepared your way, and leaves crushed Zagnut nodules in the carpet. --Blair


  • Far too many people have bought into the War on Terror horseshit. There is nothing new here unless you have never in your life visited a scientific library. The stacks are full of the vast body of science, centuries of it. An enormous fraction of can be used for mischief by those who are skilled in the relevant arts. This paper breaks no new ground in that regard, hysterical public hype notwithstanding.

    Beware of assuming that pundits or authorities are generally correct or that they have your best interests

  • 90% of an advanced western country killed = collapse of civilisation.

    90% of a Muslim country killed as an effect on striking the west = 90% become martyrs (and overtime at Allah's virgin factory)

    Resulting chaos, lawlessness, tribes fighting for survival is the environment that cruel elitist beliefs like Islam excel in, this is why they try to overthrow any form of government

    If they could do it I am sure they would. In teh aftermath you can be sure that they will be the ones prepared, rounding up the surviv

    • Nice troll there. Sorry to the community that I'm feeding you, but I can't just sit there seeing your comment at +2 without pointing a few things out.

      I'm an atheist, but I think I wouldn't be if I were born in a Muslim country. There are places in the world where if you're not a Muslim (or a Catholic, etc.) you're a social pariah. Many people have to at least pay lip service to a creed, and even if they would rather become atheist given the freedom of choice, they're not going to alienate themselves from

      • As an individual, you want to be judged by your actions as an individual. Please extend the same courtesy to Muslims individually, which means refraining from labeling them collectively as aggressive nut cases bent on world destruction.

        But as an individual I also want to be lazy and take easy mental shortcuts to understanding complex situations. How can I do both?!

      • by barv ( 1382797 )

        You are mostly right.


        The sacred text of Christianity is the new testament, which is about the life of Jesus told by his disciples. The sacred text of the Muslims is the Koran (which are Mahommed's recitals of what God said to him in the desert). In addition to the Koran there are books written about Mahommed's life, and Mahommed's did a lot of contentious things (like committing genocide against a Jewish tribe in Medina, or taking a tithe from terrorism, or dealing in slaves).

        I am quite sure that lots

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.