Wednesday, November 09, 2005

CDC May Distribute 1918 Killer Flu

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is considering sending the recently re-engineered 1918 flu virus to qualified labs in the United States:

"There are 300 non-government research labs registered to work with deadly germs like the Spanish flu, which killed millions of people worldwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will consider requests for samples from those labs "on a case-by-case basis," CDC spokesman Von Roebuck said Wednesday.

Dangerous biological agents are routinely shipped through commercial carriers like FedEx or DHL, following government packaging, safety and security guidelines.

Last month, U.S. scientists announced they had created "— from scratch"— the 1918 virus. It was the first time an infectious agent behind a historic global epidemic had ever been reconstructed.

Researchers said they believed it would help them develop defenses against the threat of a future pandemic evolving from bird flu, which was found to have similar characteristics as the 1918 virus.

About 10 vials of virus were created, each containing about 10 million infectious virus particles. CDC officials said at the time the particles would be stored at a CDC facility in Atlanta, and that there were no plans to send samples off campus.

But that statement did not mean there was a policy against sending samples elsewhere, Roebuck said."

Just in case the precautions being taken break down somehow, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has established a pretty decent looking website to provide "official" information on pandemic influenza and the newest bogeyman--avian influenza. features such categories as:

  • Health and Safety
  • Monitoring Outbreaks
  • Planning and Response Activities
  • Travel and Transportation
  • Research Activities
With any luck, we won't need this info. But you never know.


Post a Comment

<< Home