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Mad scientists breeding mega-viruses

Genetics as it applies to evolution, molecular biology, and medical aspects.

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Mad scientists breeding mega-viruses

Postby joe777 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:02 am

I've always wondered what's stopping some crazy terrorist breeding up airborne super viruses that are immune to antibiotics and are not affected by the common strategies of our immune system. Would it take too long or something?
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Postby JackBean » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:23 am

it's not that easy. For that you would need some high-tech laboratory, unless you want to die for your god/leader before you spread the virus. Also, you need to start with some existing virus, which is already adapted, and change it to affect desired traits, but that will (probably negatively affect other traits).

Cis or trans? That's what matters.
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Postby jonmoulton » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:58 pm

All viruses are immune to antibiotics. That's an important idea -- look into it, figure out why.
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Postby ChesneMD » Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:52 am

Jon, I love that you actually commented on that; i think it is one of the biggest misconceptions about viruses - that they are affected by antibiotics. But that seems to stem from a misunderstanding about what actually an antibiotic is. But nevertheless...

I heard recently that some scientists developed a strain of H5N1 which would kill millions, at a 60% mortality rate. This new strain is supposedly incredibly more lethal and contagious. So it has already been done, to answer your question, if only to a slightly smaller degree, but only as a biomedical research for pandemics. However, in bioterrorism, we have to understand that the potential is there. This can work to our advantage, many researchers indicate that knowing how to combat it (by developing them ourselves) is the best defense. Specifically for the strain I mentioned, they would like to use it to try and combat the Avian flu, among many others.
I am a biologist, biological anthropologist, physicist, theoretical physicist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist... I am a scientist. Dammit, Jim, stop pestering Dr. McCoy!
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