Monday, July 23, 2012

Viral composites: "something not seen before"

Some vaccines use a weakened live virus as their agent to immunize the host. The Australians have managed the unique feat of (accidentally) getting two of these live-virus from vaccines to recombine into a newer deadlier form of virus: oh joy.

The original virus was killing about 5% of their chicken population. The new virus is killing about 17%. Note, either number would be considered absolutely devastating if similarly deadly disease were unleashed on the world’s human population. The most comparable modern pandemic, the 1918 Spanish Influenza, is thought to have killed about 5% of the world population.

Brett Smith, RedOrbit, 13 July 2012 (hat tip: NC)

Australian scientists looking to vaccinate chicken populations against a respiratory disease may have accidentally unleashed a disease far more deadly than the one they hoped to prevent.

According to a report published this week in Science, the genomes from two different strains of the herpesvirus infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT) virus that were used in vaccines have recombined to produce more virulent ILT viruses near Sydney and Melbourne.“These new strains were formed by recombination from the different vaccine strains and that they were actually more virulent than the vaccine strains that gave rise to them,” said lead author Joanne Devlin from The University of Melbourne, Parkville.

“This is something we’ve never before seen before in the field.”


dennis said...

I expected some comments on this post. This is just one of the scariest things I've seen.

Anonymous said...

I'm playing catch-up but this is another sign of Man's arrogance.

Man thinks a better life through Science is always possible.

Isn't "With every action there is a reaction." one of those big science laws?

Was it Bohr who asked "Is it big enough?" As if the Atomic Bomb was enough to end warfare.

Not sure where I'm going with this.

Maybe that Life is.


russell1200 said...

Live virus vaccines are about as basic as it gets. It seems like the lacked even a little bit of out-of-the-box thinking because we know that virus and bacteria can lend building blocks to each other. They were just going about business as usual, and if anyone thought about the possibilities, they were likely told "that has never happened".