Bioweapons research gets quiet OK from National Institutes of Health: Here’s why that could be ‘horrific’

3-4-2019 h n labvaccinecdc
A Sanofi-developed H7N9 vaccine with a new strain of virus is being tested in two clinical studies sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. Image credit: CDC

For more than a decade now, two scientists–one in the U.S. and one in the Netherlands–have been trying to create a deadly human pathogen from avian influenza. That’s right: they are trying to turn “bird flu,” which does not normally infect people, into a human flu.

Not surprisingly, many scientists are vehemently opposed to this.

In response to these and other concerns, in October 2014 the U.S. government called for a “pause” in this dangerous researchNIH Director Francis Collins said that his agency would study the risks and benefits before proceeding further.

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Well, four years later, the risks and benefits haven’t changed, but the NIH has (quietly) just allowed the research to start again.

Related article:  Infographic: Racing to create affordable at-home test for COVID-19

[W]hy the heck would anyone do that? The answers were and still are unsatisfactory: claims such as “we’ll learn more about the pandemic potential of the flu” and “we’ll be better prepared for an avian flu pandemic if one occurs.” These are hand-waving arguments that may sound reasonable, but they promise only vague benefits while ignoring the dangers of this research. If the research succeeds, and one of the newly-designed, highly virulent flu strains escapes, the damage could be horrific.

Read full, original post: Scientists restart bioweapons research, with NIH’s blessing

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