From the November 2003 Idaho Observer:
U.S. government says A pox on mice
Foreign policy experts in biological weapons program boast their mousepox is 100 percent lethal to the little rodents
A scientist funded by the U.S. government has deliberately created an extremely deadly form of mousepox, a relative of the smallpox virus, through genetic engineering, New Scientist magazine recently reported.
Development of the virus, which appears to be lethal in 100 percent of exposed mice -- even if they have been treated with antimicrobial agents are injected with vaccines that would allegedly protect them from it -- is a stepping stone toward the development of a broad spectrum of species specific diseases with a 100 percent kill rate.
Adding to the ominous nature of the previous statement, New Scientist added, The work has not stopped there. The cowpox virus, which infects a range of animals including humans, has been genetically altered in a similar way.
The obvious question is why would the U.S. government be interested in developing such a deadly pathogen. Dr. Mark Bueller of the University of St. Louis told New Scientist that his work is necessary to explore what bioterrorists might do.
The new virus, which is about to be tested on animals, should be lethal only to mice, Mark Buller of the University of St Louis told New Scientist.
But the research brings closer the prospect of pox viruses that cause only mild infections in humans being turned into diseases lethal even to people who have been vaccinated, New Scientist observed, adding, Some researchers think the latest research is risky and unnecessary.
I have great concern about doing this in a pox virus that can cross species, said Ian Ramshaw of the Australian National University in Canberra on being told of Buller's work.
According to New Scientist, Ramshaw is himself an authority on science's genocidal intentions toward mice. He was a member of the team that accidentally discovered how to make mousepox more deadly (New Scientist, 13 January 2001). But the modified mousepox his team created was not as deadly as Buller's, New Scientist claimed.
While being concerned about the repercussions of Buller's work in 2001, Ramshaw and his team have since engineered a more deadly mousepox and a lethal rabbitpox virus, but that it is not contagious. So, in case it escapes the lab, Ramshaw's viruses will not eliminate mice and rabbits from the world.
However, New Scientist warned, this discovery also means some bioterrorists might be more tempted to use the same trick to modify a pox virus that infects humans. Such a disease, like anthrax, would infect only those directly exposed to it. It would not spread around the world and rebound on the attackers. But there is no guarantee that other pox viruses modified in a similar way would also be non-contagious.
Note: It is the nature of science that, regardless whether it is good science or bad science, it goes forward; one scientist dies, another picks up his notes. In the case of chemical and biological weapons, bad science is just going forward.
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