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Another Claim: Swine Flu Possibly Created in Lab
Posted: 13 May 2009 02:43 PM   [ Ignore ]
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It is an unlikely and unexpected claim, and the sort of thing that rings alarm bells because of the Mad Scientist aspect but might later be shown to go nowhere, but here it is: Australian researcher Adrian Gibbs says the new flu strain A(H1N1), aka swine flu, might have evolved in eggs that scientists in some unknown lab used to grow viruses.

Gibbs did not say that’s what happened, however, despite whatever hype-laden headlines you might read today. Rather, as part of an effort to trace the origin of this strain, Gibbs said this was one of many possibilities.

“One of the simplest explanations is that it’s a laboratory escape,” Gibbs told Bloomberg Television today. “But there are lots of others.”

The virus that causes influenza can evolve rapidly. Whenever two strains get together, be it in a lab or in your body or in the body of another animal, they can swap genes and gain new infectious capabilities. That’s how a flu strain that infects only pigs, say, can hook up with one that infects both pigs and humans and then go on to infect humans.

The World Health Organization has a report from Gibbs on his claim and is reviewing it, Bloomberg reports.

As of this morning in the United States, the CDC says this flu strain has spread to 44 states and D.C., with 3009 cases and 3 deaths. Those are modest numbers compared to the annual seasonal flu, which typically kills about 36,000 Americans a year.

Globally, 30 countries have officially reported 5251 cases, with 61 deaths, mostly in Mexico, the WHO reports. Official numbers typically do not represent the full extent of the spread, as other patients’ records remain to be analyzed, plus many who suffer mild flu symptoms do not go to a health care facility.

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Posted: 13 May 2009 04:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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[South Park]  I tell you: Man-Bird-Pig is real!!!  [/South Park]

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Posted: 14 May 2009 04:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Is it a bird? Is it a ...

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“By the sweat on our brows, and the strengths of our backs…Gentlemen. Hoist the Colours! And you, madam, I warn you, I know the entire Geneva Convention by heart!”
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