Thursday, April 14, 2005

Spreading Pandemics by accident

/ sloppiness / fatal /
This is unfathomable, and scary:

The virus that caused the 1957 “Asian flu” pandemic has been accidentally released by a lab in the US, and sent all over the world in test kits which scientists are now scrambling to destroy...
...A few of the CAP kits were sent to labs in Asia, the Middle East and South America, as well as Europe and North America. The kits’ originators had to know what they contained, in order to evaluate the test results. However, when Canada’s National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg identified the strain on 26 March, it alerted the US Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. Worryingly, it initially found the potentially deadly virus in a sample unrelated to the test kit - meaning it had already escaped within the lab.

Political commentary: A sickening error


Oneiros said...

If this incident doesn't cause a major reassessment of the safety of flu research, a lab-sponsored pandemic may well be the only thing that induces sobriety,

And if a lab-sponsored pandemic still doesn't induce sobriety, extinction sure will...

This cuts through Tom Clancy, straight into the literary realm of Douglas Adams (and Monty Python). Be sure to pack a blanket at all times ;-)

Oneiros said...

Samples [..]sent to Lebanon and Mexico did not reach the respective laboratories (from the BBC and other news agencies)

..Why am I not surprised? It's back to Tom Clancy.