May 13, 2009
Bloomberg reports that the World Health Organization is investigating a claim by an Australian researcher that the swine flu virus may have been created as a result of human error.
In an interview, Adrian Gibbs, who collaborated on research that led to the development of Roche Holding AG’s Tamiflu drug, said he will publish a report suggesting the new strain may have accidentally evolved in eggs scientists use to grow viruses and drugmakers use to make vaccines. “One of the simplest explanations is that it’s a laboratory escape,” Gibbs told Bloomberg. “But there are lots of others.”
Last month, according to investigative journalist Wayne Madsen, a top scientist at the United Nations, who has examined the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in Africa, as well as HIV/AIDS victims, concluded that H1N1 possesses certain transmission “vectors” that suggest that the new flu strain has been genetically-manufactured as a military biological warfare weapon.
Madsen’s United Nations source and another in Indonesia are “convinced that the current outbreak of a new strain of swine flu in Mexico and some parts of the United States is the result of the introduction of a human-engineered pathogen that could result in a widespread global pandemic, with potentially catastrophic consequences for domestic and international travel and commerce.”
The source in Jakarta, Indonesia, said WHO officials are afraid that the presence of gene segments from the H5N1 bird flu in the A-H1N1 swine flu strain could mean that the new swine flu strain was engineered to “jump species.”
Gibbs’ speculation that the H1N1 virus was a “mistake” that occurred at a vaccine production facility is reminiscent of the Baxter scandal. In February, the pharmaceutical company Baxter International sent vaccine material contaminated with H3N2 flu viruses to 18 countries. The contaminated product, which Baxter calls “experimental virus material,” was made at a research facility in Orth-Donau, Austria.Critics have suggested that Baxter intentionally contaminated the “experimental” vaccine materials in order to provoke a pandemic. Baxter has worked with governments around the world to develop and produce vaccines to protect against infectious disease or potential threats from bioterrorism. “After 9/11 Baxter helped supply stockpiles of a smallpox vaccine and in 2003 the company was contracted to develop a vaccine to combat the SARS virus. In 2006 the UK Government announced plans designed to inoculate every person in the country with Baxter’s vaccines in the event of a flu pandemic,” Steve Watson wrote on April 27.
On May 7, Baxter confirmed that it received a strain of the swine flu virus and was “taking all of the appropriate steps necessary to prepare for a large scale vaccine production,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
Adrian Gibbs also believes the virus could have jumped from a pig to another mammal or a bird before reaching humans. Other scientists, however, believe this is extremely unlikely. The virus is made up of components from the human flu virus, avian flu virus, and swine flu virus, a combination not possible in the natural world. There are no cases of swine being infected with the H1N1 virus.
“This strain of swine influenza that’s been cultured in a laboratory is something that’s not been seen anywhere actually in the United States and the world, so this is actually a new strain of influenza that’s been identified,” Dr. John Carlo, Dallas Co. Medical Director, said last month.