10/08/2005

Researchers Fear Escape of Lethal Flu Strain

Researchers Fear Escape of Lethal Flu Strain


Researchers are concerned about the potential security risk produced by the recreation of the 1918 Spanish flu, which killed 50 million people, the London Guardian reported today (see GSN, Oct. 3).

Undisclosed quantities of the flu are being held in a high-security lab at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Georgia. Researchers have worked for nine years to recreate the virus. Its genetic sequence is available online, adding to fears that it could be recreated elsewhere, the Guardian reported.

Scientists working with the virus argue their work has provided insight into the flu’s lethality and its unique genetic formation. Other researchers have warned that the virus could escape.

“This will raise clear questions among some as to whether they have really created a biological weapon,” said Ronald Atlas, co-director of the Center for Deterrence of Biowarfare and Bioterrorism at the University of Louisville in Kentucky (Ian Sample, Guardian, Oct. 6).

NTI: Global Security Newswire - Thursday, October 6, 2005

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