Saturday :: Jan 31, 2004

Don't Bug Me, Man!


by pessimist

I read a story a short while back that researchers, including those connected to the US Army's biological weapons research facilities, were looking into the "Spanish" influenza pandemic of 1918-1920 with an eye toward "understanding" why that particular flu strain was such a potent killer.

More links on Spanish Influenza

In this story, as I recall (lost the link and can't find the page through Google), a flu victim was located in Alaska and a sample of the victim's lung tissue was obtained "for research". This was before the last couple of years' worth of flu attacks - and before SARS.

SARS symptoms match those of either flu or pneumonia, so let's take the Jeff Rense approach and assume the worst - this Alaskan virus sample was used to engineer the SARS virus into a potent biological weapon to be used against the public at large, just as some believe was the intention behind the alleged engineering of the AIDS virus.

Links to such beliefs

Just as AIDS didn't evolve into an airborne killer, and recent Ebola research indicates that direct contact is required to contract it, much like Mad Cow Disease , the rumored-mad scientists seeking to wipe out all "surplus" life on this planet must be seriously frustrated.

Let's say for a moment that these sorts really exist (they must, or why would the Army have a biological research facility at Fort Detrick, MD?) and that there is some kind of a plan by some of these to make the world liveable for the truly deserving. AIDS isn't killing off the poor fast enough, SARS proved to be easily contained, Ebola won't travel far if people won't eat infected monkey meat, BSE (Mad Cow) is causing serious repercussions among Bush's cattleman supporters and can't be the source of delivery for political reasons. What's a demonic cabal of mad scientists to do?

One of the brighter lights who actually read history must have remembered the Spanish Influenza. It's airborne, it kills VERY quickly, leaving almost no time for treatment, it spreads rapidly and widely, making it a very effective Grim Reaper if one is seeking to decrease the surplus (impoverished) population. It killed between 20 and 40 million people worldwide according to the best currently-available data. This would translate into something like 60 to 100 million deaths today, assuming otherwise equal conditions. In fact, 1918 was to only year in the twentieth century that the US population decreased! The only problem - there were no samples in the lab to use for research purposes.

The particular variant taken from the Alaska victim may not have had the right combination of genetic ingredients for the purpose intended, which is the only good explanation for this:

Flu victim exhumed after 85 years

Scientists are preparing to exhume the body of a woman who died of flu 85 years ago to find out how the virus killed millions across Europe.

Phyllis Burn died aged 20 in 1918, a victim of the 20th Century's worst flu epidemic, which killed more than 30 million people. She was buried in a lead coffin, thought to be virtually airtight, in Twickenham, south-west London. Scientists wearing protective clothing will remove lung samples from the body.

Professor John Oxford, who is leading the investigation in the search for genetic clues, said his team would be taking no chances. They will work inside a tent erected over the grave and the body will not be removed from the cemetery. "I don't think there is any chance of finding an infectious virus, but you never know," said Mr Oxford. "We are treading into the unknown a bit."

The team hopes to find a "genetic footprint" which might explain why people became so sick. They could then try to make a vaccine which takes account of the gene, or a better anti-viral drug.

Yeah - Right!

Many victims of the 1918 epidemic died within a few days, effectively of suffocation. The move has the support of Miss Burn's niece, Hilary Burn-Callander, who told BBC London she was a bit surprised at first by the request.

"I didn't know what to think to be honest," she said. "But I think she would have wanted to help in any way [she could] and certainly, as a family, we would."

While people do die of the flu, the numbers tend to be inconsequential when compared to the 200,000 US citizens who died in October of 1918 alone. From a July 2002 population of 288,368,698, if 36,000 die annually from the flu, this results in a much smaller percentage than 200,000 of 103,208,000. And as altuism isn't in vogue nowadays, this pessimist isn't convinced that the research is aimed at making life better for the least of our brothers.

It would seem to me that it would make far more sense to study to forms currently active and not mess with a known killer, which if it got loose again, would accomplish the goal of this supposed evil cabal and kill more millions.

And that may very well be the point of this exercise.

pessimist :: 9:09 AM :: Comments (7) :: Digg It!