Tuesday, December 27, 2011

You know who makes me mad?

Ron Fouchier, that's who. Each time I bump into a story about what he's done, I'm newly furious. If you read between the lines in the linked article, it tells us that there's a decent chance that over 50% of the world's population will be dead in ten years -- directly because of this guy's work.

In case you're not aware the story, Fouchier took bird flu (H5N1), one of the most dangerous flu viruses ever known -- but one that doesn't spread readily -- and made it airborne, thus creating the greatest viral danger humans have ever faced. H5N1 is nasty but it rarely spreads beyond the infected individual. However, now that Fouchier has given the virus wings, it can travel around the world with ease and infect virtually everyone it comes in contact with. We have absolutely no immunity to this thing.

H5N1 is fatal in over 50% of the cases, and airborne, this thing will spread like wildfire. It could literally kill half of all the people on Earth. We're told that the virus is under tight wraps and will never escape the lab, but the experts say this kind of thinking is nonsense. Apparently, information of this sort slips out within 10 years, every single time.

I wish I had a video of this researcher. I saw him on TV and he is the piggiest guy imaginable: a regular GOP jerk. He doesn't see any problem here; move along. The man was hugely and visibly smug when asked about the danger his research posed to humanity. 

And finally, the NYT reported the following after saying that the research would be kept secret:
But he previously described the work at a public meeting, and various publications have reported that the experiment involved creating mutations in the virus and then squirting it into the respiratory tracts of ferrets. When the ferrets got sick, the researchers would collect their nasal secretions and expose other ferrets to the virus. After repetitions of this process, a strain of virus emerged from sick ferrets last summer that could infect animals in nearby cages without being squirted into them — just by traveling through the air.
Thanks, NYT. Why not make a manual for the terrorists? Guys, we're in big trouble. It looks like humanity's stupidity is about to bite us in the ass.