As predicted, government advisory board officials are warning of bioterrorist attacks that could result from the full release of a study detailing how virologist Ron Fouchier mutated the bird flu virus to potentially transmit quickly between humans. If the findings are released, scientists are warning that the virus could mutate to mimic past pandemic flu outbreaks such as the Spanish flu of 1918-1919 which killed 50 million people.
Virologist Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands seeks to publish his work in the journals Science and Nature, though United States government officials from the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity have asked the journals to exclude the specific details of the study that could lead to the replication of the experiments. So far the editor of Science has agreed to withhold some data under the circumstance that the government sets up a medium to provide the withheld data to scientists around the world who ‘need’ it.
Sparking Bioterrorist Pandemic Attacks, Disregarding Public Health
Revealing the entirety of the study would allow for individuals to reproduce the results of the study – he heavy weaponization of the H5N1 bird flu virus. Rare in humans, the 5 mutations performed by Fouchier may allow for the deadly virus to transfer freely from human to human similar to the seasonal flu. What is quite different than the seasonal flu, however, is the fact that since 1997 the H5N1 bird flu virus has killed more than 1 in every 2 people that it infected. This is an extremely fatal virus that if weaponized and released on the public could create a major pandemic taking millions of lives.
Why are some scientists and organizations pushing for this mutated bird flu strain blueprint to be released to the public?
Amazingly, the very individual who released the bioweapon would not even be able to fully control the outcome. Paul Keim, chair of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, explained how volatile of a weapon the mutated bird flu could become:
“This is such a dangerous biological weapon, it would not be controllable. Whoever used it would doubtlessly decimate their own people as well,” Keim said.
If the entirety of the study data is released, it is simply a waiting game to see if a bioweapon is developed as a result. The most concerning part of the potential release is the fact that the individuals pushing for complete data dumping will have indirectly facilitated a large-scale pandemic that could threaten the lives of millions worldwide. Also, groups dedicated to large-scale destruction and chaos would be able to go incognito with their release of the heavily mutated and weaponized virus, as the results are available to the public. Is this the Stuxnet of biological warfare?