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Pandemic Influenza as a Bioweapon
Recombinomics ^ | February 23, 2005

Posted on 04/27/2009 9:55:37 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

"Anyone who is honest about this has to admit that if al Qaeda launches a spectacular biological attack which could cause contagious disease to be spread, no entity in the world is prepared for it," Noble said. "Not the U.S., not Europe, not Asia, not Africa."

Since the WSN/33 situation in Korea provides some valuable insight into detection and reporting of bird or human flu, and wire services are carrying stories about biologic attacks by terrorists causing a contagious disease, it is worth reviewing some of the lessons learned from the swine WSN/33 infections.

If pandemic flu is the contagious disease of choice, selection of WSN/33 at this time would offer some advantages. It is already transmissible from human-to-human, has been shown to be lethal in mice, has mutations in NA and PB2 that increase lethality, is widely available, and could be used without genetic manipulation.

As has been seen in Korea, introduction of the agent into pigs would allow it to spread almost undetected. Verification of its spread (or existence) has proven to be exceedingly difficult. Movement from swine to humans has not been reported and all reported isolates are missing the PB2 mutation. This may be due to a survival selection offered by recombining or reassorting with prevalent H9N2 subtypes. Most of the swine isolates have an avian PB2, but even the isolates that have half of a human PB2 have the 3' half of the human gene replaced with avian sequences. Thus, the results from the Korean swine may indicate that starting with a very lethal virus has disadvantages in that a less lethal virus will emerge virtually undetected.

A second choice would be the H5N1 currently causing the high case fatality rate in Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia. This version would be even more available, since it is excreted in large amounts by asymptomatic ducks, and is present in multiple organs in fatal infections. Although human-to-human transmission of H5N1 is limited, infecting a few international travelers would generate worldwide panic if these passengers became ill outside of areas with indigenous H5N1. Use of infected currency as a vector for transmission has been widely discussed.

A third approach would involve genetic manipulation. Creating an efficiently transmitted H5N1 would be relatively easy. Swapping a human receptor binding domain from a human flu virus into an H5 backbone would improve transmission efficiency and such an agent would quickly disseminate worldwide. Of course such an agent would be hard to control, and most unvaccinated people would be at risk. Since influenza evolves via recombination, implementation of an efficient laboratiry strain might be eclipsed by a natural version, and there would be uncertainty over the origins of such an agent.

Thus, like WSN/33 in Korean swine, taking credit for such a biologic attack may be difficult, since most countries appear to be unable to even determine if such an attack has happened.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: bioterror; bioterrorism; fear; fearasaweapon; flu; globalfear; influenza; lookatthenumbers; pandemic; swineflu
Any biologists here that can explain this?
1 posted on 04/27/2009 9:55:37 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Seems to be saying the task of cranking out a man made super virus may be harder than it looks and it may not be as deadly as hoped.


2 posted on 04/27/2009 10:02:21 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Beat a better path, and the world will build a mousetrap at your door.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Use of infected currency as a vector for transmission has been widely discussed.

That is an interesting thought.

3 posted on 04/27/2009 10:05:06 PM PDT by rdl6989
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
If anybody is making pandemic flu, it's big pharma Baxter, not the mythical Al Quada and their long dead leader, Usama Bin Laden.

Baxter: Product contained live bird flu virus

The rebirth of the 1918 Spanish flu, which was a military flu.

4 posted on 04/27/2009 10:05:15 PM PDT by Obamageddon ("I'm outraged that we tortured detainees with Caterpillars rather than Camel Spiders!")
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To: Obamageddon
If anybody is making pandemic flu, it's big pharma Baxter,

As a 15 year employee of another "big pharma" corporation, let me be the first to say that you are an idiot.

Take your trash somewhere else, newb.

5 posted on 04/27/2009 10:24:06 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (Bob Taft has soiled the family name for the next century.)
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To: buccaneer81
I'd be real sensitive too if I worked in an industry that is increasingly suspect.

The contaminated product, which Baxter calls “experimental virus material,” was made at the Orth-Donau research facility. Baxter makes its flu vaccine — including a human H5N1 vaccine for which a licence is expected shortly — at a facility in the Czech Republic.

People familiar with biosecurity rules are dismayed by evidence that human H3N2 and avian H5N1 viruses somehow co-mingled in the Orth-Donau facility. That is a dangerous practice that should not be allowed to happen, a number of experts insisted.


6 posted on 04/27/2009 10:35:59 PM PDT by Obamageddon ("I'm outraged that we tortured detainees with Caterpillars rather than Camel Spiders!")
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Anybody up for this as a “scourge of God” due to the present evil?


7 posted on 04/27/2009 10:41:32 PM PDT by pankot
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To: pankot

Mexicans are getting scourged worse then residents of the USA.


8 posted on 04/27/2009 10:42:45 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Beat a better path, and the world will build a mousetrap at your door.)
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To: buccaneer81
Here's another suspect- big agra corporations that take advantage of Mexico's non-existant environmental laws.

By Mario Andrade Mexican swine flu may have originated at US-owned pig breeding farm
Posted: April 26, 2009

AUSTIN, Texas -- The recent swine flu outbreak taking place in Mexico may have originated at a US-owned pig-breeding farm by the name of Granjas Carroll (aka Carroll Farms), which is owned, in part by the Smithfield Food Company.

Smithfield also promotes the consumption of genetically-altered foods, and even owns certain genetic lines of pork breeding. On April 12 of 2009, before the swine flu outbreak was covered by mainstream media outlets, the Mexican newspaper La Jornada broke a story on how Carroll Farms was polluting the drinking water near the towns of La Gloria and Perote, in Veracruz.

According to La Jornada, Carroll Farms maintains a strong political influence in municipal governments in the area. Recently, group of environmental protesters that blocked a highway near the Carroll Farms facilities was arrested. Among them were Guadalupe Serrano Gaspar, a 66-year-old man who said was arrested by undercover police officers. Local residents from 20 towns nearby in Veracruz and the bordering state of Puebla also oppose what they consider deplorable environmental practices by Carroll Farms. The complaints from local residents range from reports of large quantities of pig excrement in the waterways to the smell of chemicals and feces in several towns.

Veratect, which is company that tracks epidemic outbreaks, has posted a timeline of events that also indicates that the Mexican swine flu outbreak may have started in Veracruz, Mexico near the Carroll Farms facilities. According to the Veratect timeline, more than 400 local residents at La Gloria, Veracruz and other nearby towns reported having strong flu-like symptoms days before the outbreak was reported by the media. Local health authorities in La Gloria and Perote have determined that this “strange” flu-like disease or “new strain of the flu” was spread to the local towns by flies that feed on pig feces. In the town of La Gloria, 60 percent of the 3,000 inhabitants have been infected.

The newspaper La Jornada also reported that local health officials and residents found “clouds of flies” feeding on organic pig waste, carcasses and feces. Reportedly, Carroll Farms has been dumping organic pig waste out in the open, leaving it exposed for the flies to feed.

The swine flu has now been spreading to major cities in Mexico, the US and Canada. In Mexico, over 900 people are dead. Mexico City has begun to close down schools, churches, and libraries. The Mexican government is planning to vaccinate 500,000 people, although it is widely known that there is no vaccine for this latest strain of swine flu because it has not yet been produced.


9 posted on 04/27/2009 10:43:36 PM PDT by Obamageddon ("I'm outraged that we tortured detainees with Caterpillars rather than Camel Spiders!")
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Is a bio-terrorist, having possible knowledge of events which may murder literally millions of persons, to have the prescribed “interrogation” of Obama and Holder?

Pelosi and Leahy should be asked about this. It is a perfect moment for the question.


10 posted on 04/27/2009 10:55:53 PM PDT by mtntop3
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To: buccaneer81
Here's some more good news for your industry:

Prescription Drugs - Leading Killer in USA

...A statistical study of hospital deaths in the U.S. conducted at the University of Toronto revealed that pharmaceutical drugs kill more people every year than are killed in traffic accidents.

The study is said to show that more than two million American hospitalized patients suffered a serious adverse drug reaction (ADR) within the 12-month period of the study and, of these, over 100,000 died as a result. The researchers found that over 75 per cent of these ADRs were dose-dependent, which suggests they were due to the inherent toxicity of the drugs rather than to allergic reactions.

The data did not include fatal reactions caused by accidental overdoses or errors in administration of the drugs. If these had been included, it is estimated that another 100,000 deaths would be added to the total every year.

The researchers concluded that ADRs are now the fourth leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease, cancer, and stroke.

Source: Jason, et al. (Lazarou et al), Incidence of Adverse Drug Reactions in Hospitalized Patients, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Vol. 279. April 15, 1998, pp. 1200-05. Also Bates, David W., Drugs and Adverse Drug Reactions: How Worried Should We Be? JAMA, Vol. 279. April 15, 1998, pp. 1216-17.

One of the first JAMA article on medical errors appeared in JAMA 1994;272:1851-7. by Leape LL. Then in April 1998, JAMA 1998 Apr 15;279(15):1200-5 See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/htbin-post/Entrez/query?db=m&form=6&Dopt=r&uid=9555760

Related articles are at http://jama.ama-assn.org/issues/v280n20/related/jlt1125-1.html#searchmedline

Other related articles: Schuster M, McGlynn E, Brook R. How good is the quality of health care in the United States? Milbank Q. 1998;76:517-563. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/htbin-post/Entrez/query?db=m&form=6&Dopt=r&uid=9879302

World Health Report 2000. Available at: http://www.who.int/whr/2000/en/report.htm.


11 posted on 04/27/2009 11:01:44 PM PDT by Obamageddon ("I'm outraged that we tortured detainees with Caterpillars rather than Camel Spiders!")
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To: Obamageddon

I think the common thread in your possible villians is “big”. Big Pharma, BIg Agra.. Maybe Big Tobacco or Big Oil?


12 posted on 04/27/2009 11:25:13 PM PDT by D-fendr (Deus non alligatur sacramentis sed nos alligamur.)
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To: rdl6989

I’ve read that almost all paper currency has traces of the drug ‘coke’ in it. Logical to then think that other substances could be ‘soaked’ into the bills.

Handling it and getting it distributed would be the touchy part.


13 posted on 04/27/2009 11:27:33 PM PDT by BlueVelvet
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To: Obamageddon
-pharmaceutical drugs kill more people every year than are killed in traffic accidents. -

Probably because many older people just take too many medications. Some doctors will just give them a pill for every ailment, not even reviewing the meds the person is already taking.

14 posted on 04/27/2009 11:36:17 PM PDT by BlueVelvet
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To: D-fendr
I think the common thread in your possible villians is “big”. Big Pharma, BIg Agra.. Maybe Big Tobacco or Big Oil?

No. Big tobacco just produces a product that people will always want and they comply with too many regulations. They don't try to say it's healthy.

Big oil is the most persecuted industry in the world and we better learn to appreciate them because we'll miss them if the enviro carbon crazies get their way.

But big pharma and big ag should have skull and crossbones on everything they produce, IMHO.

15 posted on 04/28/2009 12:04:28 AM PDT by Obamageddon ("I'm outraged that we tortured detainees with Caterpillars rather than Camel Spiders!")
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
The filthy conditions that started the Mexican flu epidemic at Smithfield's GRANJAS CARROL pork farm in LA GLORA, VERACRUZ Mexico
16 posted on 04/28/2009 12:41:29 AM PDT by Obamageddon ("I'm outraged that we tortured detainees with Caterpillars rather than Camel Spiders!")
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To: Obamageddon

Eighteen years ago, the Iranian government welcomed bioweapon engineers from the collapsing Soviet Union into their country, and there set up shop to create really, really nasty killer diseases.

That in essence is the retaliatory threat Iran levels at the rest of the world - IF Israel attacks and destroys Iran’s nuclear facilities. Using agents in place for decades, Iran will destory all mankind with “plagues”.

Anyone care to speculate that this “swine flu” was a test case to see how well their evil plan might work?


17 posted on 04/28/2009 12:49:27 AM PDT by SatinDoll (NO Foreign Nationals as our President!!)
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To: Obamageddon

Fine. So there are filty conditions existing there at these pig rearing facilities.

Influenza doesn’t develope in manure ponds or filthy conditions: it developes inside biological entities, like ducks (avian flu), pigs (swine flu), and humans.

This particular influenza contains snippets of dna from European swine flu, Asian swine flu, avian flu, and two types of human flu.

The idea that it sprang, fully formed, from pig farms in La Glora, Veracuz, Mexico is suspicious.


18 posted on 04/28/2009 12:56:09 AM PDT by SatinDoll (NO Foreign Nationals as our President!!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Swine Flu in Mexico - Timeline of Events
http://biosurveillance.typepad.com/biosurveillance/2009/04/swine-flu-in-mexico-timeline-of-events.html


19 posted on 04/28/2009 1:46:50 AM PDT by stlnative
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Here is Exhibit #1. This tends to show that (while this is a real flu) the cause of death is iatrogenic.


20 posted on 04/28/2009 1:50:20 AM PDT by agere_contra
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To: D-fendr; Obamageddon
NO, big government.

BTW, Obama, your homepage looks a little ostentatious.

Something doesn't quite smell right.

Cheers!

21 posted on 04/28/2009 3:43:59 AM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: grey_whiskers
Sorry bout that.

I've only had one cat I could tolerate. He acted like a dog.

22 posted on 04/28/2009 5:04:08 AM PDT by Obamageddon ("I'm outraged that we tortured detainees with Caterpillars rather than Camel Spiders!")
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To: rdl6989
Use of infected currency as a vector for transmission has been widely discussed.

That is an interesting thought.

Anyone who has ever been near a strip joint (I dealt blackjack in one long ago) washes their hands after handling currency and NEVER puts it in their mouth for any reason.

23 posted on 04/28/2009 10:01:09 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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To: 2ndreconmarine; Fitzcarraldo; Covenantor; Mother Abigail; EBH; Dog Gone; ...

Ping


24 posted on 04/28/2009 10:03:43 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy
Pandemic Influenza as a Bioweapon
25 posted on 04/28/2009 10:09:28 AM PDT by LucyT
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To: buccaneer81
let me be the first to say that you are an idiot.

I'd bet you're far from the first to call him that.

26 posted on 04/28/2009 10:12:41 AM PDT by Toddsterpatriot (Math is hard. Harder if you're stupid.)
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To: Obamageddon
But big pharma and big ag should have skull and crossbones on everything they produce, IMHO.

By all means, do us a favor and refuse to use their products. The rest of us poor, misguided souls will take our chances.

27 posted on 04/28/2009 10:41:00 AM PDT by buccaneer81 (Bob Taft has soiled the family name for the next century.)
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To: buccaneer81
Will do, Bucko.

No GMO mad cow burgers with growth hormone / High Fructose Corn poison shakes for me!

28 posted on 04/28/2009 11:06:08 AM PDT by Obamageddon ("I'm outraged that we tortured detainees with Caterpillars rather than Camel Spiders!")
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Using influenza as a bio-weapon makes as much sense as issuing plutonium knives to soldiers for use in combat.

There are plenty of reasons for this. For example, the various influenza have an extraordinarily high number of flexible RNA components, which means it mutates at a tremendous clip. A single animal may have half a dozen strains at the same time.

This also means that the strains are in natural selection competition with each other to develop the best strain to insure strain survival. This means that there is a distinct path for a given strain.

To begin with, a strain must be different enough from previous strains so that its hosts immune system does not recognize it and attack it with a specialized and deadly defense. But by not recognizing it, the host immune system overreacts, which can result in what we now call the “cytokine effect”. Between virus over-reproduction that damages the host and the cytokine effect, this makes the new strain deadly to the host.

However, natural selection then kicks in again, as less lethal variants of the strain survive and propagate better than lethal ones. And this happens rapidly as well, so the strain soon becomes just annoying to the host, not deadly. But by then, so many hosts are innovating deadly defenses against the strain, that other strains are able to fill the gap in the host population.

Influenza also swaps RNA segments readily, helping it to adapt and compete. This is why the Mexican swine flu has human, avian, and European and Asian swine elements, and typical influenza tests showed positive for two different strains.

In short, influenza is vastly too complex, too capable, too flexible, and too unpredictable to use as a bio-weapon. Annual vaccinations are based on guesswork, and even if a lethal strain was devised, there is no assurance it will last beyond the first few hosts.

At the same time, the H5N1 strain being innovated naturally has the potential to kill 1 billion people. Nature is that much better at this than we are.


29 posted on 04/28/2009 11:24:22 AM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: Obamageddon
High Fructose Corn poison

High fructose corn syrup is poison? Why?

30 posted on 04/28/2009 12:10:55 PM PDT by Toddsterpatriot (Math is hard. Harder if you're stupid.)
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy
Depends on the goal.

IF you looking for disruption, then it might make sense.

But blowback will be bad, you have an even chance of killing off your own guys. Which is the same reason that chemical weapons still have the stigma they do, and subs don't anymore. To easy to kill off alot of people you weren't aiming at.

31 posted on 04/28/2009 12:57:48 PM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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