Virus experiments risk unleashing global pandemic, study warns just as French lab shut after losing SARS virus samples in a strange coincidence?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014
By Paul Martin

Countdowntozerotime.com
May 21, 2014

Public health experts have warned that controversial experiments on mutant viruses could put human lives in danger by unleashing an accidental pandemic just as French lab shut after losing SARS virus samples.

Several groups of scientists around the world are creating and altering viruses to understand how natural strains might evolve into more lethal forms that spread easily among humans.

But in a report published on Tuesday, researchers at Harvard and Yale universities in the US argue that the benefits of the work are outweighed by the risk of pathogenic strains escaping from laboratories and spreading around the world.

They calculate that if 10 high-containment labs in the US performed such experiments for 10 years, the chance of at least one person becoming infected was nearly 20%. If an infected person left the laboratory, the virus might then spread more widely.
“We are not saying this is going to happen, but when the potential is a pandemic, even a small chance is something you have to weigh very heavily,” said Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at Harvard School of Public Health, who wrote the report with Alison Galvani, an epidemiologist at Yale.

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