Flashback…Is this wise? Controversial scientist recreates pandemic flu virus that killed 500,000 people… except it’s WORSE
Dr Yoshihiro Kawaoka, 58, had chosen strains of 2009 pandemic virus that were resistant to antibodies
The goal of the study at University of Wisconsin’s Institute of Influenza Virus Research is to improve vaccines
Kawaoka’s critics say if the virus escapes from his lab, the human population would be defenseless against it
By Snejana Farberov
2 July 2014
A controversial researcher who in the past had replicated the deadly Spanish flu of 1918 has done it again, this time cooking up in his lab an especially resilient strain of the H1N1 virus.
Dr Yoshihiro Kawaoka, professor of virology at University of Wisconsin at Madison, has reportedly tweaked the 2009 strain of pandemic influenza responsible for some 500,000 deaths worldwide to make it resistant to the human immune system’s antibodies.
Kawaoka’s many critics have said that his latest provocative experiment has essentially rendered the world’s population defenseless against the virus.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the H1N1 virus that sparked the 2009-2010 pandemic has turned into a regular human flu virus that continues to circulate seasonally worldwide.
Kawaoka’s goal, as The independent has reported, was to convert the virus into its pre-pandemic state in order to see how it has changed over the past four years.
Ostensibly, his goal is to perfect the design of the flu vaccines of the future, but in order to achieve it, the scientist has enabled the virus to ‘escape’ the human immune system.
‘Through selection of immune escape viruses in the laboratory under appropriate containment conditions, we were able to identify the key regions [that] would enable 2009 H1N1 viruses to escape immunity,’ Professor Kawaoka told the paper.