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    Supervirus That Can Kill Everyone

    Sunday, September 1, 2019 Last Updated 2020-02-24T10:59:59Z
    Nothing is more terrifying than a supervirus with the potential to wipe out billions of people, but fortunately that’s the kind of stuff left to James Bond villains and shadowy corporations in movies.

    Or at least it was, until Ron Fouchier, a Dutch virologist, announced that he had created that exact virus in 2011.

    The virus is a genetically altered version of the H5N1 virus, otherwise known as the avian virus, which is deadly among birds but has only accounted for around 500 human infections since 2002 (for comparison, the regular flu kills about 3,000 people per year). 

    With a few minor tweaks to the virus, Fouchier and his team made it simultaneously more deadly and much, much more contagious, to the point where it killed approximately 50% of the ferrets used for testing.

    Ferrets are commonly used to test viruses because their bodies behave much like humans. 

In the tests, the virus was first transmitted between the ferrets manually, but after 10 generations it became airborne, and easily reached the entire population.

    And remember, this is a working model for how it would affect humans. Just imagine if that was released to bioterrorists.

    Oh wait, people already have – This has become one of the biggest controversies in the virology community, since Fouchier wanted to publish his entire method to the public.

    Source: listverse.com


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