Spanish Flu Returns — in Korean Pigs

Health journalist Bill Sardi reports on another important news story the media is missing:

Nature Magazine, in its February 24 issue, reported that Henry Niman, a biologist with Recombinomics, last November was examining flu virus gene sequences that were placed in GenBank, a public database in New Mexico run by the World Health Organization. Niman found a strain of human flu virus that was created in 1940 in a London lab by scientists who were experimenting with the virus that had caused the flu pandemic of 1918.

The problem is that this mutated human flu virus was placed in GenBank by researchers at Chungnam National University Daejon, South Korea. It had been obtained from a pig! This flu gene sequence doesn?¢??t exist in nature. It had to be artificially implanted into pigs.

The World Health Organization has pooh-poohed the situation, dismissing the affair as probably the result of a laboratory error.

Dr. Niman, who we interviewed for our MythArc Radio podcast, has been tracking this story closely at his website:

[T]here really are only two likely explanations for the data at GenBank. […] These sequences clearly either represented reassorted and recombined genes as indicated by the sequences at GenBank, or they were H9N2 Korean avian sequences that somehow were contaminated with WSN/33-like sequences. The former could be proven by an independent confirmation, and the latter could be proven with sequences from H9N2 isolates with eight avian genes.

WHO failed to find either. Thus, the issue remains unresolved.

This is big. Here is the situation in a nutshell:

  1. A strain of virus (WSN/33) based on the 1918 Spanish flu, created in an English lab 65 years ago (a World War II bioweapon?), has turned up in Korean pigs.
  2. Somebody put it there.
  3. The WHO is failing to respond in a competent manner.

Whether it’s bioterror or a gross laboratory accident, we need to know who, how, and why.

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One response to “Spanish Flu Returns — in Korean Pigs

  1. Pingback: A Physicist's Perspective

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