Warning from 2013: ‘Appalling irresponsibility’: Senior scientists attack Chinese researchers for creating new strains of influenza virus in veterinary laboratory

Warning from 2013: ‘Appalling irresponsibility’: Senior scientists attack Chinese researchers for creating new strains of influenza virus in veterinary laboratory. By Steve Connor.

Senior scientists .. warned there is a danger that the new viral strains created by mixing bird-flu virus with human influenza could escape from the laboratory to cause a global pandemic killing millions of people.

Lord May of Oxford, a former government chief scientist and past president of the Royal Society, denounced the study published today in the journal Science as doing nothing to further the understanding and prevention of flu pandemics.

“They claim they are doing this to help develop vaccines and such like. In fact the real reason is that they are driven by blind ambition with no common sense whatsoever,” Lord May told The Independent.

“The record of containment in labs like this is not reassuring. They are taking it upon themselves to create human-to-human transmission of very dangerous viruses. It’s appallingly irresponsible,” he said. …

Fun, but useless and dangerous:

“We don’t know the pathogenicity [lethality] in man and hopefully we will never know. But if the case fatality rate was between 0.1 and 20 per cent, and a pandemic affected 500 million people, you could estimate anything between 500,000 and 100 million deaths,” he said.

“It’s a fabulous piece of virology by the Chinese group and it’s very impressive, but they haven’t been thinking clearly about what they are doing. It’s very worrying,” Professor Wain-Hobson said.

“The virological basis of this work is not strong. It is of no use for vaccine development and the benefit in terms of surveillance for new flu viruses is oversold,” he added.

We should have paid more attention.