Another Reason Why Recreating the Spanish Flu Might Not Be Such a Good Idea

I’ve written before about the effort to recreate the ‘Spanish flu’, the influenza strain that caused a global pandemic killing millions in 1918. The notion that containment measures will be 100 percent effective is ridiculous, in light of a recent foul-up at the CDC–which is part of the plan to safeguard these influenza strains.

Well, add this to the list of things that will make you pause (boldface mine):

ATLANTA — Government workers cleaning out an old storage room at a research center near Washington made a startling discovery last week — decades-old vials of smallpox packed away and forgotten in a cardboard box.

The six glass vials of freeze-dried virus were intact and sealed with melted glass, and the virus may well have been dead, because it wasn’t kept cold over the years, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

Still, the find was disturbing because for decades after smallpox was declared eradicated in the 1980s, world health authorities believed the only samples left were safely stored in super-secure laboratories in Atlanta and in Russia.

Officials said this is the first time that unaccounted-for smallpox has been discovered…

The smallpox virus samples were found in a building at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, that has been used by the Food and Drug Administration since 1972, according to the CDC.

Officials said the vials may have been stored there since the 1950s — no records were found that said exactly when they were placed there

Mistakes will be made. The question should be is the price worth the benefits. In the case of recreating the flu, certainly not.

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