Tag Archives | bioweapons

To Protect Ourselves From Bioweapons, We May Have to Reinvent Science Itself

Bioweapons are so scary you barely want to think about them. Regardless there are plenty of scientists who are spending an awful lot of time doing just that, per Defense One, raising the question of whether or not this is ethical scientific research:

In January 2012, a team of researchers from the Netherlands and the University of Wisconsin published a paper in the journal Science about airborne transmission of H5N1 influenza, or bird flu, in ferrets. The article changed the way the United States and nations around the world approached manmade biological threats.

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This was not the researchers’ intent.

The team had altered the virus’s amino acid profile, allowing it to reproduce in mammal lungs, which are a bit colder than bird lungs. That small change allowed the virus to be transmitted via coughing and sneezing, and it solved the riddle of how H5N1 became airborne in humans.

The U.S.

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