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3 comments

The Risk of a Flu Pandemic is Very Real

Posted May 02, 2013 8:20 AM

From New Scientist - Online news:

More frequent flu warnings should breed vigilance, not complacency. H7N9 flu could evolve to pass readily between people at any moment HERE we go again. Four years ago this week, the world watched agog as a newly discovered strain of flu spread, with shocking rapidity, from its starting point in Mexico to countries across the globe. The H1N1 swine flu did what SARS and H5N1 bird flu failed to do: it turned into the pandemic that health experts had been dreading. Luckily, the 2009 flu turned out to be quite mild. But its relatively low death toll was taken by some as evidence that the public health response had been an expensive overreaction. The scientists had cried wolf, they claimed - perhaps at the behest of vaccine manufacturers.

Read the whole article

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Guru

Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1756
Good Answers: 59
#1

Re: The Risk of a Flu Pandemic is Very Real

05/02/2013 11:37 PM

I have paid close attention to the subiect matter. Some real experts expressed exasperation with the virus, not the first time. A virus's genome appears simple, a few hundred to a few (ten) thousand nucleotide long. It should be a trivial exercise to decode and counteract.

Not so.

Consider viruses as a three dimensional puzzle in a basically two dimensional world. Complex in its function and its effect. Normally befuddling the investigating scientists.

For history. Not too long ago the dogma was: one genetic expression = one protein. For that, we needed 100thousands genetic expressions (loosely spoken). Then the Genome Proiect came along, and we were left with some 28thousand. And scrambling to make it work, to make sense of it. Hence epigenetic (loosely spoken), where genes control the expression of other genes.

So, instead of the old linear model, we got a matrix of a two dimensional problem to solve.

As I see, a virus is a 3 dimensional Rubic Cube needing a solution, that eludes the best minds yet.

So forget conventional concepts. It is a brave new world.

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Guru

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: East Texas
Posts: 884
Good Answers: 25
#2

Re: The Risk of a Flu Pandemic is Very Real

05/03/2013 2:35 AM

From the article - "But we should not spend so much time debating whether scientists are crying wolf that we forget that wolves really do exist."

My comment:

Nor should we be creating new ones - intentionally designed to support airborne transmission. It not only violates good sense - it probably violates bio-weapon treaties.

__________________
"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark." -- Michelangelo
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Guru

Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1756
Good Answers: 59
#3

Re: The Risk of a Flu Pandemic is Very Real

05/03/2013 6:38 AM

I disdain paranoia on general principles.

But, sometimes it is iustified, as a chinese case illustrates:

Lab creates virulent strain

Not everything that can, should be created. Especially when the learning from it is minimal to nonexistent.

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