FEATURES : Man-made viruses are here to kill us

Pulse Online Editor, Sena Quashie, takes a look at why the prospects of new man-made viruses should scare us all.

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play What's worse than a naturally occurring virus? A man-made, world ending, super virus
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Man-made viruses are terrifying and could kill us all, and Stephen Hawking isn't wrong.

Stephen Hawking is a genius. There are no different ways to put that statement, his cleverness is totally in our faces. When he isn't elucidating the perplexing way of black holes in space, he's unnerving us with the potential ways the world may end.
play Stephen Hawkings

 

Fortunately for us, Hawking is a scientist, so the end of the world he is currently discussing isn't the kind the Bible talks about. But, even along these non-Biblical lines, it's no less unnerving.

Whereas innovation is regularly seen as the answer for the issues confronted by man, Hawking trusts that it definitely will in the end catalyze our destruction. Also, one of his main reasons for alarm, and a clear case of the perils fast-paced innovation poses, are man-made viruses.

Hollywood has assaulted us with movies,  from the standard zombie episodes to the pandemic-themed ones like Contagion. The threats of hereditarily designed infections however aren't anecdotal and are really, terrifyingly stressing.

READ ALSO : Zika - 7 things you need to know about mosquito virus

To give you a clearer point of view, how about we consider Ebola. Ebola is objectively terrifying with victims haemorrhaging and, in most cases dying. Be that as it may, as we saw with the 2014-15 flare-up, its capacity to spread is constrained, preventing it from achieving pandemic levels. Manmade infections however are equipped for a ton more.

In 2011, quickly after the H5N1 infection quickly caught the world's consideration, a Dutch research group chose to take things up a score. Through the delightful advancedness of science, they "mutated the hell out of" the infection to create a significantly more resistible one.

Despite the fact that the structure of the man-made virus just varied from the first by five mutations, it was fit for phenomenal levels of demolition. In what way? By making it airborne.

It wasn't even that the virus wasn't at that point sufficiently terrible - it killed over a large portion of its casualties. But by making it airborne, the modified version could, as per conservative estimates, contaminate a large portion of the world's populace.

Benevolently, it was created for only research purposes. Still, it doesn't change the truth that in today's perpetually modern world, we're ready to weaponise the originally frightful viruses that exist.

The distribution of their discoveries were banned because of a paranoia of giving bioterrorists another weapon. Research on the infection was consequently stopped. Be that as it may, that doesn't altogether defend us from the potential risks of a super virus. While the Hollywood-esqe plausibility of a biological assault appears like the probable danger, the greater one is significantly more commonplace - a basic mishap in a science lab.

This has lead to the detailing of limitations overseeing where and under what circumstances research like this is allowed. In any case, this minimizes the danger, but it doesn’t totally dispense it.

The path forward with man-made viruses

The logical arrangement one would envision is to stop such research totally. The issue however is that might place us in significantly more peril. Scientists agree this research is vital in seeing how normally occurring viruses could mutate and develop.

Actually, in making such a super virus, specialists discovered surprisingly that the H5N1 infection could mutate to become transmittable between mammals. By creating such viruses before they're able to mutate similarly in the wild, we're able to preempt vaccines and other precautionary measures. It could help us prevent the possible development of these super-viruses altogether.

Ultimately, it's a catch 22, where we're possibly damned if we do and we're similarly under threat if we don't.

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