Man made super flu could kill half humanity is a brilliant article published on RT on November 2011 about issues related to bird flu and the security risks this development poses to the citizens of the world. This discovery has been made courtesy of research conducted by scientist Ron Fouchier in Netherland and involved genetic alteration of H1N5 virus to enhance its contagiousness. Tests conducted on test organisms have without doubt showed that the new virus has the capability to annihilate half of the world’s population should it fall in the wrong hands. This article raises one fundamental question. Whether to allow the academic publication of these findings which can put in the hands of bioterrorists a weapon that poses great danger to the global populace. The decision to allow publication falls under the jurisdiction of the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity.
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This article has great significance to the area of counter terrorism in an age where terrorism has become a clear and present danger to the security of the world. Terrorism refers to acts of violence and a campaign of death and terror propagated by terror groups against nations and their interests. One avenue which has been of great interest to sophisticated terror groups especially domestic based ones is bioterrorism, strategies involving deployment of bio-organisms like virus and bacteria to bring mass death through disease. In 2001, five citizens died under the hands of terror groups when they received envelopes containing various strains of the anthrax virus. The development outlined in this article concerning the new strain of bird flu is even scarier since in their estimation, the effects are much bigger in scale as compared to anthrax. Why scientists would be allowed to develop such a virus has been called into question with many calling for more regulation in the fields of potentially dangerous research. But scientists have counter argued that not doing so is complacent and poses a greater danger to mankind should such a strain occur naturally; with no know how existing on how to deal with it. The fact that sole power to determine matters pertaining to publication rests on one government agency is frightening taking into consideration the magnitude of a potential outbreak. Such knowledge should be guarded jealously and those persons responsible for this discovery should shelf their publication demands for the sake of humanity.
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