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View Diary: Scientists Synthesize Airborne Virulent H5N1 Flu Virus; Gov't Asks for Publication Ban. (34 comments)

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  •  Tee-totally disagree (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FarWestGirl, G2geek, erush1345

    Humans have this pattern among others: decide some awful thing is "inevitable" and then not only refuse to do anything about it, but rush forward and embrace it NOW NOW NOW! If inevitably, why not tomorrow?

    But consider: a life saved is basically just another way of saying a death postponed for an unknown time. Should we all rush forward and embrace death NOW because it is, after all, inevitable?

    So: Even if this germ or another one like it is INEVITABLY going to become either a terrorist weapon or an epidemic, suppose we try POSTPONING the awful day, at least.

    Who knows, but by the time the INEVITABLE is due, there may even be some answers...perhaps of a kind we cannot now imagine. This happened with the Cold War, for example. We lived under the virtually INEVITABLE threat of nuclear destruction by the Soviet Union for 40 years, so inevitable that some hawks wanted us to shoot first. And then....fwoop. Of course it could still happen, but the end of the Soviet strain of lethal  nuclear "virus" was rather surprising.

    I hate censorship but would go with it on this issue, if I were the Monarch, ha ha.

    Also if I were the Monarch I would lock up the perpetrators of this particular Frankenstein's monster (without the poignant edge of the original monster) for the rest of their lives and make them spend those lives  teaching algebra to 9th graders.

    Good thing we have a Bill of Rights, eh?  

    •  It is not "inevitable" just a fact of the science (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      palantir, erush1345

      involved.

      They know how airborne vectors work. They know how H1N1 works. Getting the two to merge is not insurmountable.

      Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

      by Horace Boothroyd III on Mon Jan 23, 2012 at 06:00:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  i'm with you on this. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      claude

      Whatever legitimate purposes may be fulfilled by doing the research and making it available to other scientists, do not entail any justification for broadcasting all of it globally.  

      Six people, $20,000, and access to a high school level chem/bio lab, are all that it takes to whip up a plague.  Today this is true for a specific range of pathogens.  Tomorrow, with genetic engineering advancing almost at the pace of Moore's Law, it will be that much easier for bioterrorists to type a set of instructions on a keyboard and thereby produce an instant plague that will make all of our pandemics to date seem like warm-up exercises.

      The solution to this is for work that can lead to bioweapons of enormous lethality, to be carried out only in classified facilities by individuals who are properly vetted and cleared, and publish the results only within that selected community.

      Then when a vaccine or treatment is developed, put it out to bid by Big Pharma to recover the costs of the classified research.  In effect, Pharma would be paying for the work in a manner similar to if they did it themselves: but with the benefit of there being no financial risk involved since the successful vaccine or treatment would already be in hand.

      At that point, the vaccine or treatment could be put into production and made widely available, averting the risk of bioterrorism or natural pandemic involving that particular disease.  

      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Mon Jan 23, 2012 at 07:25:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Consider this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stcroix cheesehead

      we know now (or at least some researchers do) the specific mutations that allow this virus to become airborne.  That also means we have the knowledge to do something about it.  

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