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Some Scientists Think SARS May Have Come from Outer Space
LONDON (Reuters) ^ | May 22, 2003 | Patricia Reaney

Posted on 05/22/2003 5:47:54 PM PDT by TaxRelief

LONDON (Reuters) - Could SARS have come from outer space? Some scientists think so.

Instead of jumping from an unknown animal host in southern China, a few researchers in Britain believe the virus that has baffled medical experts descended from the stratosphere.

"I think it is a possibility that SARS came from space. It is a very strong possibility," Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe told Reuters.

The director of the Cardiff Center for Astrobiology in Wales and a proponent of the theory that life on Earth originated from space, admits the theory defies conventional wisdom.

But in a letter published in The Lancet medical journal on Friday he and his colleagues argue there are too many puzzling aspects about the respiratory illness that has killed nearly 700 people and infected more than 3,800 to dismiss the idea.

Other virologists believe it simply isn't possible because the virus is too fragile to survive in outer space.

"I think it is completely nuts," said Dr Anne Bridgen, a molecular virologist at the University of Ulster.

"It has a lipid (fatty) coat on the outside and it would tend to dry out in an atmosphere such as space," she told Reuters.

Professor Ian Jones, an expert in virology at the University of Reading in southern England, described the idea as bizarre.

"SARS is a new virus but it is only a new relative of a family of viruses that we understand quite well," he said, referring to the coronavirus family which includes a virus linked to the common cold.

"The difference is that it is a causing a severity of disease that we haven't seen before in the human population."

Wickramasinghe stressed that SARS suddenly appeared in China late last year and is a new coronavirus with a different genetic sequence from similar viruses in animals. Its origin has also not been traced. He believes these factors could suggest it evolved differently and may have come from a far-off place.

"There doesn't seem to have been a human origin for this. It seems to have come from somewhere else," said Dr Milton Wainwright, a molecular biologist at the University of Sheffield in England and a co-author of the letter.

"There is a lot of debate about where it could have come from and we are providing an answer," he added.

Wickramasinghe said there is no known virus that has fallen from outer space. "There is no known virus that has been picked up from high in the stratosphere," he said. "Not to date."

Yet Wickramasinghe and Wainwright believe the original outbreak in China is also significant because if the virus did fall to Earth it would most likely land east of the Himalayas, the weakest point in the stratosphere and easiest to break through.

In studies of air samples taken from 25 miles above the Earth, large numbers of micro-organisms were found, Wickramasinghe said, so it is possible SARS came from space.

"The fact that many cases in China cannot be traced to infected people means that something is dreadfully amiss in the idea of conventional wisdom," he said.


TOPICS: Breaking News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: humor; itcamefromouterspace; panspermia; sars; tinfoilhat
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To: Brian S
Might be gettin' to the 9 billionth name soon... ;)
121 posted on 05/22/2003 9:03:17 PM PDT by Axenolith (I'm going for a drive-about this weekend :))
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To: TaxRelief
Something's in the dogs pen... and it's pissed off!

thing

122 posted on 05/22/2003 9:15:24 PM PDT by Axenolith (I'm going for a drive-about this weekend :))
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To: amom; Alamo-Girl
Psst! Who is it here at FR who does the "hold muh beer" alerts???
123 posted on 05/22/2003 9:35:38 PM PDT by TEXOKIE
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To: TEXOKIE
LOLOLOL! Thanks for the chuckle!
124 posted on 05/22/2003 9:43:34 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Bellflower
so....maybe a few pina coladas is the cure for SARS lol
125 posted on 05/22/2003 9:46:12 PM PDT by goodseedhomeschool
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To: Axenolith
ARRRGGG, lame link alert...
126 posted on 05/22/2003 9:48:03 PM PDT by Axenolith (But, of course, being chocolate, they'll taste okay anyway.)
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To: goodseedhomeschool
The very laughable idea that SARS came from outer space shows just how idiotic the "scientist of this world" really are.

Don't judge all of us just because there are a handful of crackpots in our profession. Most of us are pretty well grounded in reality; we wouldn't become scientists otherwise. Besides, you can't claim that the well-established theory of evolution is bogus just because some crackpot claims that SARS came from outer space. If you can make a claim like that, may I make the claim that all religion is bogus because some crackpots once claimed that the solar system is terracentric?

127 posted on 05/22/2003 9:48:46 PM PDT by exDemMom (Tax cuts for the rich (i.e. working people) NOW!)
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To: exDemMom
Well, since you can no more PROVE your THEORY than I can mine, the question remains, WHO'S THEORY IS RIGHT AND WHO'S IS WRONG? I know my theory sure has a lot better outcome than your does. Just because a theory is well established does not make it so as you so eloquently pointed out.
128 posted on 05/22/2003 9:51:54 PM PDT by goodseedhomeschool
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To: TaxRelief


129 posted on 05/22/2003 9:52:14 PM PDT by Starrgaizr
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To: Gorzaloon
If SARS can only live a day or two exposed to sea level atmosphere, there is no possibility it arrived from space, and little possibility it would be opportunistic on mammals if it did.

Did you see the article in Science a few years ago, about a Mars rock that some researchers thought might contained fossilized microbes? What is your opinion of that?

p.s. I wasn't convinced.

130 posted on 05/22/2003 9:53:02 PM PDT by exDemMom (Tax cuts for the rich (i.e. working people) NOW!)
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To: Axenolith
Oh, maybe not, just ancient browser :)
131 posted on 05/22/2003 9:55:25 PM PDT by Axenolith (I'm talking to myself now, its night night time...)
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To: TaxRelief
interesting,comets tail leave behind debris and later planet earth cross it.
132 posted on 05/22/2003 9:58:28 PM PDT by green team 1999
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To: #3Fan
A "scientist" said this? It would "dry" in the "atmosphere" of space? It may freeze solid or disintegrate in the vacuum of space. Inaccurate choice of words at best.

Unless you are a scientist, you have no idea how difficult it is to communicate even simple ideas. If you want to leave me tongue-tied and speechless, make it perfectly clear that you don't understand the first concept of molecular biology, then ask me what I do.

133 posted on 05/22/2003 10:00:04 PM PDT by exDemMom (Tax cuts for the rich (i.e. working people) NOW!)
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To: exDemMom
Why is it so difficult to communicate? Do "scientists" corner the market on understanding ideas? Or, must they have the proper indoctrination to understand? Just a simple question. I am sure you are not implying that you are smart and the rest of us are stupid. That would just be plain rude. :)
134 posted on 05/22/2003 10:07:36 PM PDT by goodseedhomeschool
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To: TaxRelief
Some (British) scientists think sars may have come from outer space.

This bilge is the result of reading too much "Harry Potter."

135 posted on 05/22/2003 11:14:17 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg (There are very few shades of gray.)
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To: TaxRelief
A summary I can do. There is something called lauric acid in virgin coconut oil that dissolves the lipid coating off the lipid coated virus and leaves it defenseless against the body's attack. Since SARS is a lipid coated virus it may very well work against it too. Quite a few of the serious viruses are lipid coated and are said to be be disarmed with lauric acid. Many studies have been done to back these claims up.
136 posted on 05/22/2003 11:33:40 PM PDT by Bellflower
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To: TaxRelief
I think the brains of these scientists are in space.
137 posted on 05/22/2003 11:48:45 PM PDT by yonif
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To: goodseedhomeschool
so....maybe a few pina coladas is the cure for SARS lol

I don't know about pina coladas being a cure for SARS but Guinness Extra Stout daily has been proven by studies to often keep people with HIV alive longer. They first noticed that beer drinkers with HIV were doing better than their counterparts who had HIV and were trying to do everything right to take care of themselves including not drinking beer. Studies showed it was the Guinness Extra Stout drinking people who were doing the best of all. Sorry I can't link you to the studies as it has been a long time since I read them. Maybe I can find them if I look. :>)
138 posted on 05/22/2003 11:50:05 PM PDT by Bellflower
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To: the_doc
Hi! Old Quagmire Reuters is really spreading the Bovine Fecal Matter in this story..

Reuters makes the NY Slimes and LA Slimes look like paragons of virtue and truth when compared to the Reuters BS articles.
139 posted on 05/22/2003 11:53:53 PM PDT by Grampa Dave (Time to visit this website and join up: http://www.georgewbush.com/)
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To: mhking
This is probably worth at least a "Hold ma case of malt liquor"
140 posted on 05/22/2003 11:57:41 PM PDT by Grampa Dave (Time to visit this website and join up: http://www.georgewbush.com/)
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