The research by the Kawaoka and Fouchier teams set out to answer a question that has long puzzled scientists: Does H5N1, which rarely causes human disease, have the potential to trigger a pandemic? ...
Some scientists think the virus is probably unable to trigger a pandemic, because adapting to a human host would likely make it unable to reproduce. Some also believe the virus would need to reshuffle its genes with a human strain, a process called reassortment, that some believe is most likely to occur in pigs, which host both human and avian strains. Based on past experience, some scientists have also argued that flu pandemics can only be caused by H1, H2, and H3 viruses, which have been replaced by each other in the human population every so many decades—but not by H5.
Fouchier says his study shows all of that to be wrong. ...
... The researchers "have the full support of the influenza community," Osterholm says, because there are potential benefits for public health. For instance, the results show that those downplaying the risks of an H5N1 pandemic should think again, he says.
Knowing the exact mutations that make the virus transmissible also enables scientists to look for them in the field and take more aggressive control measures when one or more show up, adds Fouchier. The study also enables researchers to test whether H5N1 vaccines and antiviral drugs would work against the new strain. (source)
This is emphatically, demonstrably wrong. Science that is unethical cannot, and must not, be trusted - it stems from faulty thinking at the outset, and the only ethical and scientific response must be to discard its results as being tainted by its methods.
Jimbob, this isn't about understanding some general " risks to humans". This is like publishing the exact dimensions, shape and composition of the nuke core, along with the exact process and machinery list needed to make one.
The Scientific Method is not this pure, platonic construct of pure reason - it is a social covenant that allows imperfect humans to divine truth as perfectly as we can. It cannot, must not, be circumvented for expediency's sake - the very minute you do that, for any reason, your science is bogus and untrustworthy, and therefore its results must be rejected.
Yes, and they want to publish it, so that whoever wants to, can skip all the hassle and go directly to the good stuff.
until they publish the sequence with the important mutations highlighted?
As Martin Enserink reports in Science, the new experiments on bird flu were similarly effective. They turned H5N1 into a ferret flu in just 10 generations. By the time the scientists were done, they no longer had to ferry the flu from one ferret to the next. A healthy ferret just had to be placed near a sick one; the virus could travel through the air. When they examined the new strain, they discovered five mutations in two genes. All five mutations have been found in natural H5N1 viruses–just not all in one virus.
I'm sorry, but that's just arm waving. Might? Better? What do those words mean?
I think you're missing a point here. (well, maybe I am missing a point). This strain they've created, it's not in the wild. It will never be in the wild
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