A mutated version of the bird flu virus(AKA H5N1) created in a lab cannot be transmitted aerially between ferrets and is unlikely to escape and threaten humans, says the scientist at the centre of an ethics controversy over the threat his research poses to public safety. In late 2011 Dutch researcher Ron Fouchier was reported as …
"Less lethal to ferrets"
Still slaughters humans by carload lots, of course.
I'm sure that's a great relief
If you're a ferret.
I for one welcome our tube-rat overlords.
World has changed
The world has clearly become more paranoid.
During the days when I was still doing mol biol (before surrendering to the dark side of IT) I remember reading a couple of articles from a group which was trying to devise an AIDS vaccine by grafting selecting parts of the AIDS genome onto the polio virus.
Immune system resistant polio or HIV which causes selective paralysis and spreads by the faecal route and requires no direct body contact. Isn't either one a lovely idea? What's next - do a bespoke cocktail of HIV and rabies?
Did they get censored? No. Did any mainline media even notice them? No. Did the Bruhaha reach the point where politicos intervened? No. Are the articles available in any library? Yes. Are the articles at a "state of the art" from 20 years ago which can be replicated in any lab in the world nowdays? Yes. Are you scared now?
If you are - you are wrong. Ask anyone who has done a mol biol degree - they will tell you just how bleeping difficult it is to work with cell cultures and viruses. Mol biol cannot be done in a garage regardless of what the mainline media scaremongers are trying to convince you in scaremongermentaries like BBCs "Smallpox". In fact, with the sole exemption of Antrax, most pathogens are royal pain the a*** to grow. The more pathogenic - the more royally PITA. There shall be no "bacteriological 7/7" or even "9/11". Ever.
Re: World has changed
So you can't do it in a garage.
1) You need a clean room.
2) You probably need some centrifuges.
3) You certainly need some people who are trained in a variety of related areas.
4) You need media on which to grow the cultures, even if it is a RPITA.
5) You need a method of weaponizing it once done, even if it is a RPITA.
You are a state sponsor of international terrorism: 1 check, 2 check, 3 check, 4 check, 5 check.
The reason we've never experience biological warfare is because while there have been mad men in charge, they've usually been surrounded by a sufficient number of rational people to check insane ideas that were likely to come back on themselves. <B>IF</B> I were sure that existed with state sponsors of terrorism, I wouldn't be worried about it. However, I am not sure of that.
Re: World has changed
You are seriously over-optimistic about what it takes.
1. You need the whole she-bang with lab animals and people to do the analysis of how did the shit work.
2. Some centrifuges. You make me laugh. The centrifuges you are referring to cost in the millions. OK, that is in budget for a "Blofeld", but there is lot of money involved none the less. The centrifuges need consumatives. You need CsCl and other shit to form gradients for separation which will make you show up on the "radar" of all interested parties very shortly. You also will not get away with just centrifuges. In order to get interesting stuff done to viruses you will need nucleic acid synthesis and sequencing kit and people who know how to run them.
3. You do not grow virus cultures. You grow virus on top of cell cultures. A Cell culture is a royal PITA in the first place as it has to be the right tissue to grow the virus. You after that infect that with a virus and grow it. Sounds easy does not it? Every tried doing it yourself. I suggest you try first.
4. Clean room? You make me laugh. Any ideas on what it takes to build and keep operational a building to work on pathogens which are suiitable for bioweapons? You do not want to kill your scientists before the weapon is ready, right?
And so on.
I'm sorry .. my brain got to the phrase "cannot be transmitted aerially between ferrets" and conjured up images of ferrets being thrown at each other.
It must be a Friday.
Missing the important question..
What the hell does this bastard have against ferrets?
Re: Missing the important question..
Unfortunately, they make great lab animals as get human colds and flus. Nothing sadder than six sneezing ferrets.
That name just doesn't work...
How about "Weasel Screamers"?