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February 3, 2012 at 1:47 PMComments: 3 Faves: 0

The Bird Is The Word

By E.M. Wollof from SLN More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the A New Itch Blog Series

While the common American prepares for the heartburn apocalypse that will follow the festivities this weekend, a debate rages in the scientific community....on censuring groundbreaking research into a virus that has the potential to kill half the people it infects.

I made mention of the discovery of a new strain of the H5N1 virus (bird flu) a few weeks ago, I also may have mentioned that it has the capability of wiping out half the human population on our beautiful planet. Thought that was a joke? Sorry folks, no joking here. Researchers from Erasmus Medical College in the Netherlands and the University of Wisconsin-Madison recently manufactured a strain of the virus that is transmittable between humans (the virus wasn't too adept at this previously). The current debate rages between those who censured the research publications (NSABB - National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity) and a group of scientists who believe that the research has the capability to save millions.

The Debate

For the sake of sanity, I will lay out the debate as clear as possible and let you decide for yourself:


The NSABB said that they censured the research out of a fear of it falling into the "wrong" hands. Now, after years and years and years of us wading through reports of foreign dangers it is no surprise that there are departments created specifically to be paranoid about these types of discoveries. Coincidentally, the NSABB was formed after the anthrax attacks in 2001 (what a great year for fear mongering....should have bought stock). Despite the tendency for us to look upon organizations like this in disdain (masked fear) their position is easy to understand. With flu epidemics like the 1918-19 outbreak in Spain that destroyed 40 million people, who wouldn't be worried?

So, combine the fear of half the human population being destroyed, couple it with a history of flu epidemics ravaging densely populated areas (sprinkle a little bit of manufacturing vaccines greed) and viola!, you have your censorship decision.

The Smart People

The enraged scientific community claims that the government is being a wee bit short-sighted. They claim that the research could lead to better ways of tracking the virus across human populations and it could lead to vaccinations that are ahead of the natural evolution of the virus. Also, no one really likes to have their life's work censured or see that their scientific discoveries can be covered up so quickly by "the man."

My Double Pennies

My opinion? None of this matters. Nature is a viciously beautiful juggernaut that waits for no man. Time after time we have seen viruses jump up out of nowhere and decimate populations before they even realize what's happening. "We've come up with vaccines" you say? Look up the current research that is pointing to those vaccines actually causing weakness in the human body.

I applaud our race for striving to achieve dominance over their own mortality, loving life so much that we rail against anything that would stand in our way of immortality. In the end, I can see both points of view, I just don't agree with either one of them. I love that we have been studying the virus to learn how to combat it, but creating a strain that could decimate half the population? In a time where nothing is private? And then trying to publish that information to the public realm? Not a whole lot of thought went into this. There is still no justification for censorship though, we lay in the bed we make as a species, there is no governmental agency that can stop that. We will pay the price for not caring for our planet, just like we will pay the price for this.

Sound off in the comment section below...

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  • I'm sure this monster is sitting in a cold-storage facility somewhere, waiting for the right egomaniac to decide it's his job to destroy humanity. Vaccines are a joke. The protein coat on viruses changes so quickly that by the second or third wave of outbreak, the current vaccine would be useless. Then we'll be left with guessing which way it's going to mutate, just like we do with less potent varieties of flu now.

    Sorry, but we never should have done it. But at least our liberties are being protected.

  • This feels like the movie contagion.....I have trouble seeing benefit from making a virus that can kill everyone...but it's not like we haven't done stuff like this before right? Im pretty sure that if someone decided to launch a few nuclear missiles half the population could be decimated too

  • While I still agree that creating the virus and then making it public may have been an ill advised decision, studying every possible angle is necessary. Take a look at the information about The Black Death and you can clearly see the impact a virus of this magnitude can have on the human species.

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