In a move that can only be described as incredibly reckless, scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control have been conducting experiments in which they infect ferrets with both the H1N1 swine virus and the H5N1 bird flu virus to see if they will "reassort" and create a new hybrid flu virus. The rationale for these reckless experiments is that scientists want to know if a combination of H1N1 and H5N1 could become a "super flu" that would be both easily transmissible from human to human and highly fatal at the same time. Considering the fact that the World Health Organization says that over half of the people who have contracted H5N1 have died, the prospect of such a "super flu" developing is more than a little frightening. Of course scientists tell us that experiments such as this one are "perfectly safe", but the truth is that we all know that sometimes these experimental viruses do get out. If a lab-created H5N1/H1N1 hybrid does get out, what would that mean for humanity?
Well, the potential for a combination of H5N1 and H1N1 to start spreading is real enough that the World Health Organization issued an official press release about it a couple weeks ago. The press release contained an ominous warning about the possibility that the H5N1 bird flu virus could combine with the H1N1 swine flu virus, thus "producing a flu virus that is as deadly as the former and as contagious as the latter."
So if a flu virus as contagious as H1N1 and as fatal as H5N1 started circulating, what would that mean?
Well, hundreds of millions around the world have reportedly contracted the H1N1 swine flu already.
About half of those who contract the H5N1 bird flu virus die.
Combine those statistics together and you get the recipe for a nightmare pandemic.
In fact, one of the top infectious disease experts in the entire world says that if such a hybrid virus begins to circulate, he will immediately retire and lock himself in a containment lab.
Yi Guan is one of the top virologists at Hong Kong University. In 2003 he helped isolate the SARS virus. In a shocking interview with Science Insider, he described what it could mean for the world if H1N1 and H5N1 were to recombine....
Q: It depends on further mutations?
Y.G.: It depends on mutations and whether the virus further reassorts with other viruses—like H5N1. That could be a super nightmare for the whole world.
Q: You’re talking about the Armageddon virus?
Y.G.: The chance is very, very low that these two viruses will mix together, but we cannot rule out the possibility. Now, H5N1 is in more than 60 countries. It’s a panzootic, present everywhere except North America.
Q: If the nightmare comes true?
Y.G.: If that happens, I will retire immediately and lock myself in the P3 lab. H5N1 kills half the people it infects. Even if you inject yourself with a vaccine, it may be too late. Maybe in just a couple hours it takes your life.
But now instead of waiting for a recombination to occur naturally, scientists at the CDC are conducting experiments to see if they can make it happen.
So what if they do make it happen?
Can they guarantee that it will never, ever get out?
We all know how well those guarantees have worked in the past.
Even if by some miracle they are able to successfully contain it, what would keep someone from using it as a military weapon in the future?
What would keep someone from releasing it in an area targeted for population reduction?
The truth is that once a supervirus like this is created, it becomes a perpetual danger to humanity. We would have to rely on the competency and morality of our scientists and politicians to keep this from getting out.
The truth is that scientists at the CDC should not be conducting experiments with H5N1 and H1N1 to see what might happen.
But they are.
Let us just hope that they do not create a monster.