Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

'Safe Ebola' Created for Research

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the makes-me-so-happy-to-be-living-in-the-same-city dept.

Biotech 198

Nephrite writes "By removing a gene from the virus Ebola, UW-Madison scientists have managed to stop the deadly pathogen from replicating. This first step may be a start down the path to a vaccine or drug screening. 'The scientists still want the virus to replicate in order to study it, so they developed monkey kidney cells which contained the protein needed. Because the cell was providing the protein, and not the virus itself, it could only replicate within those cells, and even if transferred into a human, would be harmless.'"

cancel ×

198 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

load of monkey kidney's (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137714)

This is outbreak waiting to happen! Find me patient zero!

Re:load of monkey kidney's (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22137758)

Do not worry, George W. Bush has announced a plan to invade Wisconsin claiming that they are developing weapons of mass destruction and biological weapons against his kidney.

The university tried to open a line of communication with the president to reason with him but was met with difficulty when he retired to the war room to pout and 'play with his toys.'

suddenoutbreakofebola (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22137820)

inevitable really.

No way to RTFA (5, Funny)

Laughing Pigeon (1166013) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137720)

Grisoft Antivirus has detected a dangerous virus and has blocked access to TFA.

Re:No way to RTFA (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22137832)

'Safe Ebola' created for research
Scientists have made the lethal virus Ebola harmless in the lab, potentially aiding research into a vaccine or cure.

Taking a single gene from the virus stops it replicating, US scientists wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.

Ebola, currently handled in highly secure labs, kills up to 80% of those it infects.

However, one expert said the new method may not yet be a fail-safe way of dealing with the virus.

        We wanted to make biologically contained Ebola virus
Yoshihiro Kawaoka
University of Wisconsin at Madison

The need for a "biosecurity level 4" (BSL4) laboratory for any work involving Ebola means that very few research institutions are capable of doing this.

Researchers wear biosafety suits with their own air supply, and the air pressure in the room is less than the pressure outside, so any leak would mean air flowing inwards rather than outwards.

This makes anything more than small-scale study of the virus very difficult to arrange.

If Ebola could be kept in a viable form, yet with the risk of infection removed, then conventional labs might be able to study it.

The researchers, from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, say that they have found a "great system" to do this.

Key gene

They said that a single one of Ebola's eight genes, called VP30, is the key, as without it, the virus cannot replicate within host cells by itself.

EBOLA
Initial symptoms include high fever, severe headache, muscle, joint, or abdominal pain, severe weakness and exhaustion, sore throat, and nausea
As the infection progresses more serious symptoms include diarrhoea, vomiting blood, organ damage, and internal bleeding

However, the scientists still want the virus to replicate in order to study it, so they developed monkey kidney cells which contained the protein needed.

Because the cell was providing the protein, and not the virus itself, it could only replicate within those cells, and even if transferred into a human, would be harmless.

In an effort to prove this, they used the monkey cells for dozens of "cycles" of infection and replication, without once encountering a form of the virus capable of making another creature ill.

"We wanted to make biologically contained Ebola virus," said Yoshihiro Kawaoka.

"The altered virus does not grow in any normal cells. This system can be used for drug screening and for vaccine production."

Monkey tests

However, not everyone in Ebola research is convinced.

Professor Susan Fisher-Hoch, at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, was among those at the forefront of Ebola study in the early 1980s, at the UK's BSL4 lab at Porton Down.

She said that she would need to see more proof that the modified virus could do no harm.

"I wouldn't be comfortable using it until it had been thoroughly tested and did not cause disease in live monkeys, at a high dose.

"There is no way you can prove that it is non-toxic unless this has been done."

Re:No way to RTFA (1)

SomeGuyTyping (751195) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138696)

wow - you missed the point of that comment

Hmmm.. (3, Interesting)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137752)

Does anyone else hear that quote from that movie Jurassic Park "Life always finds a way" when they see this? I mean, what could possibly go wrong, huh? Other than a little hemorrhagic(sp?) fever?

Cheers!

Strat

Before you panic (5, Informative)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137878)

Before everyone panics, just think for a second. Ebola is NOT AIRBORNE. It is transmitted by direct contact and bodily fluids. It's classified as BSL4 because it's so deadly once you actually get it, not due to its ease of transmission.

Currently, only a few groups have access to BSL4 laboratories, and this has been severely hampering Ebola research. If by taking out the VP30 gene they have reduced the pathogenicity of the virus enough to get the authorities to apply the more appropriate BSL3 tag to the mutant strain, they've succeeded in making an important stride towards expanding the field, while introducing a very minimal risk of an outbreak.

I don't think anyone is talking about drinking the recombinant virus, but merely making it BSL3 instead of BSL4... or even just reducing the risk of working with Ebola under BSL4 conditions.

After you panic... (0, Redundant)

thrill12 (711899) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138018)

I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids., general Jack D. Ripper [imdb.com]

Re:Before you panic (0, Redundant)

airedalez (743328) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138038)

Can you say 28 days later?

Re:Before you panic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22138052)

"Ebola is not airborne" ...yet

Ummm... (1)

Foerstner (931398) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138066)

From Slashdot's favorite reference authority

Although airborne transmission between monkeys has been demonstrated by an accidental outbreak in a laboratory located in Virginia, USA, there is very limited evidence for human-to-human airborne transmission in any reported epidemics. Nurse Mayinga might represent the only possible case. The means by which she contracted the virus remains uncertain.


No citations, but it's about what I remember from reading The Hot Zone.

Re:Before you panic (5, Funny)

monoqlith (610041) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138100)

You would be right, and +1 Informative, if only from TFA:

""We wanted to make biologically contained Ebola virus so that we can drink it," said Yoshihiro Kawaoka.

And if you're going to point out that I simply added the part in bold myself, then I can onlly say in my defense that it is probably what Yoshihiro Kawoaka is thinking anyway.

Well done sir (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22138230)

I must apologize to you for I have already squandered my mod points this morning. Had I not, I would have complimented you with a +1 funny. Instead, I shall print your post and read it in daily remembrance, as it would be a tragedy if it were to be forgotten.

Re:Well done sir (1)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138596)

AC gets mod points now!? What is the world coming to?

Re:Before you panic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22139164)

There is a big difference between "so that we can drink it" to "so that we will drink it"! While I'm sure the researchers are happy to know that they could (and thus a reduced risk), I don't think there's going to be any Ebola Mary Cocktails at the office party...

Re:Before you panic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22138192)

Correction: Ebola Zaire and Ebola Sudan are not airborne. Ebola Reston is airborne, but luckily the same mutation that allows it to be airborne also keeps it from being deadly to humans. That's what I call luck and would not like to do that crap-shoot over again, thanks.

Re:Before you panic (4, Interesting)

BigGar' (411008) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138398)

Not that entirely correct.
The strain Ebola-Reston is airborne, fortunately, it appears, the air-borne mutation also makes it non-lethal to humans.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebola_Reston/ [wikipedia.org]

Re:Before you panic (1)

bondjamesbond (99019) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138430)

I didn't RTFA, but can someone remind me why we're even messing with this shit?

Re:Before you panic (3, Insightful)

innerweb (721995) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139086)

Just a guess, but for some people, a cure to this miserable disease, and for others, one heck of a biological weapon. It is so limited in transmission that one might feel safe using it in certain situations to cripple an enemy. It is so incredibly debilitating while one has it that it would render combatants or other individuals incapacitated and too weak once they recovered, though they probably would not recover.

Ebola is just another tool in this case.

InnerWeb

Re:Before you panic (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139400)

Maybe. I don't think ebola is really such a great weapon though. It's pretty obvious when someone is sick, and isn't transmitted all that easily unless you get up close and personal with their bodily fluids, so it's fairly easy to control with quarantine. Plus it kills so fast and thoroughly that it's hard to get a real epidemic going. Ebola is pretty much a failure in humans and wouldn't be around except that it can live in other hosts without killing them.

Most ebola outbreaks only kill a few hundred people. I suspect a really good biological weapon would be a nasty flu strain or norwalk virus. You don't need to kill the other guys, just make them miserable enough to reduce their fighting ability. Bonus points because you're using a less lethal weapon of mass destruction!

Re:Before you panic (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139672)

because it's contagious and has an 80% fatality rate and every once in a while there is a breakout and a whole bunch of people die horrific deaths bleeding from everywhere imaginable orifice, and we'd like to stop that.

Re:Before you panic (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138828)

Before everyone panics, just think for a second. Ebola is NOT AIRBORNE. It is transmitted by direct contact and bodily fluids.

So we're safe as long as we don't touch or have sex with any UW-Madison scientists, or their monkeys.

t-virus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22139280)

how much more time tell we get the t-virus after all it also was to come from ebola research...

Re:Before you panic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22139556)

I wonder what Dr. Ian Malcolm ( Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park ) would say about this.

Re:Hmmm.. (2, Insightful)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137992)

That's what I thought to begin with, but then again, it's not as if kids will be snorting lines of this stuff for fun, it will be used in sealed laboritories with extreme care. If ebola must be studied in more flexible environments than BSL4 for it to be understood as the article claims, then a mutant virus that probably is harmless is probably a better choice to a natural virus that brings hemorrhagic fever to all it infects. Sure, don't give it to fresher biology classes, don't play with it without serious protection etc. but for the higher risk experements that absolutely must be done before this virus is understood, use this stuff instead of the authentic virus.

Re:Hmmm.. (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138122)

Consider how reactionary and outright Luddite Slashdot is, this is pretty much the reaction I'd expect here.

Re:Hmmm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22138602)

That word doesn't mean what you think it means. No one who uses computers, especially for fun, is a luddite.

Has Will Smith taught us nothing? (0)

log0n (18224) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137764)

Trying to contain genetically-altered virii for medical cures will get your family blown up in a helicopter!

(I know.. technically it was Emma Thompson who engineered the cure)

Re:Has Will Smith taught us nothing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22137952)

Your school didn't teach you much either.
The plural of virus is viruses, "virii" is not a word.

oops (1)

penn00 (1224820) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137770)

Because Ebola never crossed species before....

Re:oops (3, Insightful)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137924)

I don't think Ebola has ever had a vital component of the transcription machinery removed before. It's not a very large virus, and I don't think it can find another gene to replace it. Furthermore, I don't think anyone is talking about releasing this virus into the wild, merely making it easier to work with in the lab, as well as safer.

Why wouldn't you support that?

Re:oops (1)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139154)

I don't know about the GP, but I would hesitate to support it simply because biology isn't modular. Meaning that you can't remove something like this and hope that everything else will function in an identical manner. Yes, it's a start, but the gene that encodes for replication will have subtle influences on other part of the virus.

What this means for us monkeys is that any UW-Madison ebola vaccine that comes onto the market is somewhat likely to be ineffective against wild ebola, and then perhaps only in certain hosts.

From TFA (1)

trongey (21550) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137786)

...air pressure in the room is less than the pressure outside, so any leak would mean air flowing inwards rather than outwards. ...

OK, I'm not an expert in biosecurity, but wouldn't the reduced air pressure in the room be accomplished by pumping air out of the room?

Re:From TFA (3, Informative)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137826)

OK, I'm not an expert in biosecurity, but wouldn't the reduced air pressure in the room be accomplished by pumping air out of the room?
Through a controlled path that includes multiple
The idea is that when you take air out of the room, you control the path of the outflow, and thus you can filter the particulates, including viruses. Otherwise, when you open the door, they just tend to diffuse out.

Re:From TFA (1)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137948)

* was meant to say "multiple <.22 micron HEPA filters"

Re:From TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22138328)

.22 micron is 220 nm and the size of ebola virons are generally in the 80 nm range.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebola

Re:From TFA (2, Funny)

Laughing Pigeon (1166013) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137840)

...air pressure in the room is less than the pressure outside, so any leak would mean air flowing inwards rather than outwards. ...

OK, I'm not an expert in biosecurity, but wouldn't the reduced air pressure in the room be accomplished by pumping air out of the room?

Off course the experts have thought of that and put the exhaust of the pumps right next to the leaks so the air will get sucked in again immediately.

Re:From TFA (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138134)

OK, I'm not an expert in biosecurity, but wouldn't the reduced air pressure in the room be accomplished by pumping air out of the room?
I'm thinking the same thing. All I have been able to find are the specs for level 3 containment. [nih.gov]
It says:

The Class III cabinet is operated under negative pressure. Supply air is HEPA-filtered and the cabinet exhaust air is filtered through two HEPA filters in series, or HEPA filtration followed by incineration, before discharge outside of the facility.
But apparently level 4 is just a large scale level 3. It doesn't put my mind at ease that the filter that keeps the Ebola Virus from escaping the CDC is the same kind that's on my vacuum cleaner.

Re:From TFA (3, Insightful)

bcattwoo (737354) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138690)

But apparently level 4 is just a large scale level 3. It doesn't put my mind at ease that the filter that keeps the Ebola Virus from escaping the CDC is the same kind that's on my vacuum cleaner.
HEPA is a type of filter that removes least 99.97% of airborne particles 0.3 microns in diameter. Particles approximately 0.3 microns are typically the hardest to capture and the efficiency for larger and smaller particles is even greater than 99.97%. While these filters and your vacuum cleaner filter are classed the same way, they are likely world's apart in terms of capacity and durability.

Re:From TFA (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139470)

I expect the level 4 labs opt for the incineration option.

So long as they're not playing with the Andromeda strain, we ought to be safe.

I actually walked past the hot lab building daily when I did my undergrad. I think it was level 3. I'm still here.

Re:From TFA (2, Informative)

adisakp (705706) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138174)

OK, I'm not an expert in biosecurity, but wouldn't the reduced air pressure in the room be accomplished by pumping air out of the room?

If the secure research facility is air-tight, pumping a little bit of air out would produce a vacuum / differential pressure (compared to the positive pressure suit systems) that would could be maintained without pumping out any more air.

Furthermore, the little bit of air that does get pumped out can be processed to eliminate or kill viruses -- it can be filtered, passed through a High-Output Ozone emitter or Ultraviolet array, pass through a chemical wash, or even burned (in the case of a novel I read about a theoretical BSL5 facility).

cancer and vaccines (3, Interesting)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137794)

The scientists still want the virus to replicate in order to study it, so they developed monkey kidney cells which contained the protein needed. Because the cell was providing the protein, and not the virus itself, it could only replicate within those cells, and even if transferred into a human, would be harmless.'"
apparently this is also an area of cancer research as well. cripple a virus so that it can only live in cancer cells and let it destroy the party. vaccines are created from deactivated viruses, breeding the viruses in an environment where their ability to infect human cells is no longer an advantage eventually leads to a weakened form of the virus, specifically crippling viruses OTOH may be far more useful in this regard. it's also a way to make sure the virus stays confined, if it needs a certain component only found in a lab setting [GMed cells with a particular enzyme for example] it would be that much harder to do any real damage even if it did escape.

Re:cancer and vaccines (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137912)

Man, I just keep thinking of MI:2 where they make a super virus because they where trying to make a super vaccine.

We keep washing 99.9999% of germs and bacteria off ourselves and we seem to be getting sicker and the germs seems to be getting tougher (MRSA [wikipedia.org] ). When I was a kid was played in dirt then came in and grabbed a sammich and went out to play more... Damn life was sweet... Most of us are fine! It's not until we get into the "bacterial hand lotion" kicks that I see my peers dropping like flies...

Re:cancer and vaccines (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138118)

Most of us are fine! It's not until we get into the "bacterial hand lotion" kicks that I see my peers dropping like flies...
sigh.. the most common active compound in antibacterial soaps, lotions etc. is Triclosan. It is rather disturbing to see it used as widely as it is because of the risk of selecting for triclosan resistance. it's a never ending arms race, we make new antibiotics, they develop a way to inactivate or efficiently pump the drug out of their cells. the only thing that has a real chance at keeping up with the bacteria in their arms race are bacteriophages. they infect specific bacteria and kill them, evolving along with them for millions of years.

Re:cancer and vaccines (1)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138170)

Ummmm

"Man, I just keep thinking of MI:2 where they make a super virus because they where trying to make a super vaccine."

No they were making a super virus as a weapon they just developed the vaccine first..

"The plot (or more accurately, the excuse for the movie) revolves around a manmade biological weapon called "Chimera" that's been seized by rogue agent Sean Ambrose (a lightweight Dougray Scott). Now Ambrose and his band of generic thugs need to get their hands on the bug's antidote in order to execute their convoluted plan to extort $30 billion in stock shares from the pharmaceutical company that invented the drugs. (The one thing in the movie that's recognizable as a Robert Towne touch is the villain's demand for stock options instead of cash.) IM agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is given the assignment, should he choose not to fire his agent, to recruit beautiful jewel thief Nyah Nordhoff-Hall (Thandie Newton), and use Ambrose's romantic feelings for her to catch him at his game."

Re:cancer and vaccines (2, Funny)

benthurston27 (1220268) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139328)

Unfortunately curing cancer in this way causes people to become zombies (see I am Legend)

Re:cancer and vaccines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22139544)

I watched this movie yesterday again. It is a nice movie, thou the version with Charlton Heston is a little bit better. So, when are they starting to inject this virus on people as a vaccine? I better get my supplies and put some steel shutters on my windows... Also I like that Shelby Mustang too. Can I get one after the Ebola mutants take control of the planet?

Genetics.... (1, Funny)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137812)

How much do we know about virii to safely declare legally that this ebola virus would not leap from monkeys to humans.
Don't the scientists know that the original virus leapt from monkeys to humans just like HIV.
Hell we can't even classify virus as a living or non-living thing.

And now our irrational scientists like John Hammond think they can tinker...

Although on one hand i support them, ebola is tooo dangerous to escape from the funny farm. if it had been smallpox or something it would be understandable.

This is precisely why Bush hates funding genetic engineering as a whole...

Re:Genetics.... (4, Insightful)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138000)

I hope that this was a sarcastic post, given the amount of ignorance it contained.

We would like to study ebola, so that we can save your sorry ass if you get it. To do that, we've modified it to weaken it, so we don't kill ourselves studying it. We're not really going to put it in your food and air supply!

As far as why Bush hates funding genetic engineering as a whole you're correct. Your post illustrates PRECISELY why people hate funding it - they are ignorant, scared sheet, and content remaining such.

Re:Genetics.... (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139652)

That WAS a funny post. Exactly how a conservative like McCain or Bush would argue...

Re:Genetics.... (2, Insightful)

NIckGorton (974753) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138584)

Although on one hand i support them, ebola is tooo dangerous to escape from the funny farm. if it had been smallpox or something it would be understandable.
Smallpox is far more dangerous and has killed more than a thousand times as many people as Ebola. Ebola is actually relatively easy to contain, though quite deadly. Smallpox is deadly and far more easily spread. And most people under 40 in the developed world are not vaccinated against smallpox. So a smallpox release has a far greater potential danger.

How much do we know about virii to safely declare legally that this ebola virus would not leap from monkeys to humans.
First, the standard English plural of virus is viruses. Second, I don't think the courts have anything to do with whether or not a crippled virus is safe any more than the Kansas school board determines whether Creationism is science.

stop other things from replicating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22137830)

Can this technology be used to stop bad patents [slashdot.org] from replicating?

Really? (0, Troll)

CF4L (1072112) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137834)

If it is truly "safe" as they say, would they be willing to quarantine themselves and inject themselves with it? If their answer is no, then they are full of it.

Re:Really? (1)

NIckGorton (974753) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138312)

Nothing is truly safe... It is all a question of odds. The real question is which you'd rather do, swallow a beaker of this crippled Ebola or have a seatmate on a plane flight with EDRTB? Swallow a beaker of crippled Ebola or be on the Bay Bridge in a 6.0 earthquake centered in the bay area? Swallow a beaker of Ebola or go a month without wearing a seatbelt? If TFA accurately portrays the research done, I'd pick the former each time.

Repeat of a movie plotline? (0, Redundant)

Iamthebubblelady (1221414) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137842)

I think this has been done a number of times in movies/games (MI2, Resident Evil, I am Legend etc...)and hasn't it turned out badly every time? I guess I should get my shotgun ready for some flesh eating zombie target practice! First person to 100 wins.

Re:Repeat of a movie plotline? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22138070)

Because, as we all know, movies are always scientifically sound.

'safe' traits of greed, fear & ego to be devel (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22137852)

just kidding. let yOUR conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071229/ap_on_sc/ye_climate_records;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_ylt=A9G_RngbRIVHsYAAfCas0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A [nytimes.com]

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com]

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html [cnn.com]

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html [cnn.com]

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html [cnn.com]

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece [timesonline.co.uk]
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

The Sky is falling (5, Insightful)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137874)

Why is it on Slashdot that any thing that restricts any sort of digital rights is a massively bad thing and any research that breaks those elements (even if they are used for nefarious purposes) are good, physics and astronomy research is also always "good", meanwhile massive advances in bio-tech are always "think of the children" topics.

Sure Ebola is dangerous, but labs are working around the world with massively dangerous pathogens. Britain's numpties in the bio-farming area managed to release Foot and Mouth into the wild (genius) so of course there is a risk. The question is whether it is safe and what can be achieved by doing this, not simply thinking about the Horror flick that played a ridiculous story line out. Bio-shock story lines are just as realistic as techno-shock ones, i.e. about as realistic as a George Bush explanation on Iraqi WMD.

Bio-science is one of the most real frontiers in science today and its simply stunning what is being done. Sure there need to be controls, but educated people need to stop behaving like Fox News Anchors.

Re:The Sky is falling (2, Insightful)

malkavian (9512) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138160)

Bad, no.. Interesting.. Yes..
Worrisome, most certainly.
Out of all the techs we've yet produced as a race, all of them (with the possible exception of the nascent self-replicating nanotechnology field) have been firmly controlled by humanity.
Biotech on the other hand, we create something, and when it leaves (and sometimes before it leaves) the 'home', it gets all grown up, with the possibility of getting a serious attitude of it's own and some seriously big boots to come back kicking with.
With all our machines, you turn off the power, and they're useless. Starve them of fuel, and they stop.
With something living we don't have the 'off switch'. Even if we do at the time it's released, it only takes a few organisms to be 'faulty' and not respond to the 'off'.
So, no.. It's not bad. It's just something that we have to be far more careful of than we do the digital. If digital is broken, the worst that happens is that money is lost, and people get miserable (OK, possibly VERY miserable).
If Biotech gets 'Broken', lots of people can die. Rapidly.

Re:The Sky is falling (2, Insightful)

GauteL (29207) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138418)

"Why is it on Slashdot that any thing that restricts any sort of digital rights is a massively bad thing and any research that breaks those elements (even if they are used for nefarious purposes) are good, physics and astronomy research is also always "good", meanwhile massive advances in bio-tech are always "think of the children" topics."

That is a bit simplistic. The story summary is pretty neutral, and the "whatcouldpossiblygowrong" tag is a humorous tag used for many stories. Actually, reading the list of stories [slashdot.org] is bound to give you some giggles.

Re:The Sky is falling (1)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139416)

It's simple: We feel what we don't understand or know. Slashdot is a tech nerd crowd. We don't feel technology but there're few doctors or medical researchers among us so hence the fear. Not saying it's justified but simply that we're all human after all. We're only smarter than the masses in one area, not all areas as we like to think.

Re:The Sky is falling (1)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139474)

Wow, talk about bad typos. Feel = fear in the above post. Need more coffee.

Um.... (2, Informative)

cbart387 (1192883) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137882)

Has anyone ever read Demon in the Freezer (about smallpox) or The Hot Zone (about Ebola)? (both of which are very good books) All I know is that any biological agent like Ebola or smallpox scares the hell out of me. I think it was in The Hot Zone (could be another book, I was reading all I could find about Ebola for a while) where there WAS an Ebola outbreak in the US that WAS airborne. Monkeys were dying in a lab and the best explanation for this was that the strain (Reston) was airborne. Luckily this strain is only KNOWN to affect monkeys. You can read about it here [wikipedia.org]

Maybe I'm just being paranoid but it seems extremely dangerous to be playing with Ebola.

Re:Um.... (1)

cbart387 (1192883) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137914)

Update:
Reading the wikipedia article it does mention that 'The Hot Zone' referenced the event. My memory remains intact for another day

Re:Um.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22138142)

Maybe I'm just being paranoid but it seems extremely dangerous to be playing with Ebola.
--
Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.

And interesting sig associated with that last line.

These are played with PRECISELY for planning purposes. The question is what will it take to stop it, slow it down, or best of all to have a vaccine against it? The problems come up when we know nothing about a bug. A good example was HIV. In 1981, I was working there, when we were already tracking it down. I worked for what was considered the top rated lab in the nation (that was within NIH, CDC, DOD, and all fed grants). Another portion of CDC was tracking down the infected as well as trying hard to figure out what we had. It was already thought that it was a virus, most likely a retrovirus. But the group was running out of money, so they tasked my boss to talk to reagan. He was (and I assume still is) a mormon bishop, and a hard core republican. But after going to washington DC. He said that he would have nothing to do again with the white house or this disease. Basically, what I heard is that reagan denied the funding because it was a homosexual disease. My boss had told him that it would cross over to the hetro population, but reagan, based on his wide intellect, decided that it would not. What it came down to, is that because it was new, and we had little knowledge, a president decided to deny funding for this. Had he done just several million dollars, he would have cut back the infection rate to half or more of what it is today. Worse, he went on preaching about herpes for the next two years before even acknowledging it. Knowledge helps prevents this kind of stuff.

BTW, My bosses name was mentioned in the big AIDs book (the band played on), but it did not have much of the early stuff correct. There was a lot more happening in the feds than was printed in the book.

Re:Um.... (1)

Blimey85 (609949) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139130)

There is also a book called Virus Hunters of the CDC that shared some of the same info as The Hot Zone. One of those two does reference the outbreak in Reston Virginia.

Demon in the Freezer was great and scared the bejesus out of me. I read that one and one other on Smallpox having thought Ebola was the worst there was. Now I know that Smallpox is far far far worse than Ebola ever hopes to be.

Re:Um.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22139604)

If smallpox ever breaks out again, it will almost certainly be a derivit that humanity has never seen. The world will probably suffer to the same degree that Native Americans suffered when the Europeans first came; It will make the Avian Flu look positively minor. Worst, of all, it is difficult to make a vaccine for it.

I've got a bad feeling about this... (1)

talon_262 (514764) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137940)

As much as I'd like to find a treatment/vaccine for something as nasty as Ebola, I'm not so sure tinkering around with its genetic code like this is such a good idea. Like others, I can't help but think about the paraphrased quote from Jurassic Park, "Life will find a way"; if that ever happens and that modified Ebola mutates and gets out of isolation, we are in a world of shit.

Re:I've got a bad feeling about this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22138146)

i can't help but think of what a complete and utter waste of time jurassic park was from the science point of view. if this is the best source you have to site please just keep it to yourself. sci-fi is no place to educate yourself.

Re:I've got a bad feeling about this... (1)

NIckGorton (974753) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138458)

As much as I'd like to find a treatment/vaccine for something as nasty as Ebola, I'm not so sure tinkering around with its genetic code like this is such a good idea.
Well, then pretty much most of biomedical research on infectious agents is shit outta luck. How do you think he get live attenuated vaccines? How do you think a lot of HIV research is done?

Like others, I can't help but think about the paraphrased quote from Jurassic Park, "Life will find a way"; if that ever happens and that modified Ebola mutates and gets out of isolation, we are in a world of shit.
Like others I can't help but hope that research decision-makers and funders don't get their ideas about what research should be undertaken from bad science fiction.

(Note I said 'bad science fiction'. That does not imply that the fed shouldn't fund research into making a holodeck. That would be cool.)

What about our kidneys? (1)

dasbush (1143709) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137942)

From the Article:

[T]hey developed monkey kidney cells which contained the protein needed.
Developed enough such that our kidneys are immune?
Do any other parts of the human body make the protein needed for the virus' reproduction?

I hope this strain is adequately tested before it is labeled as safe.

Re:What about our kidneys? (1)

NIckGorton (974753) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138240)

They developed a monkey kidney cell line so that they produced a protein that is foreign to primates, and otherwise wouldn't ever be found in a monkey or human cell. So unless you've been genetically engineered to make an Ebola virus protein in your kidneys, I think you'll be safe.

Re:What about our kidneys? (1)

dasbush (1143709) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138440)

Touché.

treat the host pool (4, Insightful)

ifknot (811127) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137988)

As Strat noted in Hmmm..

"Life always finds a way"

Which is why imho vaccine efforts should be directed at the animal host pool in order to eradicate the filovirus, ie make it extinct.

The host is widely considered to be bats http://www.emedicine.com/MED/topic626.htm [emedicine.com] and if only a tiny portion of the grant money spent on dna twiddling was spent establishing this and looking at either eradicating the bats or vaccinating them then, perhaps, the whole filovirus family could be eradicated.

Before all the bat-lovers start crying foul I would like to point out that it is only ebola's high mortality rate that keeps it contained. If mother nature dose a bit of her own dna twiddling and hits the sweet spot for mortality versus infectivity then haemorrhagic fever will reach Hollywood proportions.

But, call me cynical, this would leave no recurring income for vaccine makers.

Re:treat the host pool (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138352)

Before all the bat-lovers start crying foul ...

Too late.

IANABE, but bats have been known to eat flying insects on occasion. Seems to me that this kind of tinkering has been shown repeatedly to produce unintended consquences. In this case, I'd wager the end result would be something along the lines of less bats -> more mosquitos -> more mosquito problems -> more malaria. Or, from the malaria tinkerers perspective, more bats -> less malaria -> more ebola. Given that malaria is a greater problem, which approach would you use?

Re:treat the host pool (1)

ifknot (811127) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138648)

You see this is when it starts to sound ridiculous as the notion of 'vaccinating bats' seems funny at best. After all, how do you get the bat to sit still?

But the point remains: "Nature will find a way" ie mutation will occur and it will occur in the host.

The goal should be filovirus eradication and vaccinating humans will not acheive that. Therefore, spending money (a lot of money) on only one part of the problem is a mistake.

But why is so much money being spent?

protect citizens and soldiers against bioterrorism
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2005/06/mil-050606-3e7dd8b0.htm [globalsecurity.org]

and for 'weaponization' http://www.scienceforums.net/forum/showthread.php?t=11348 [scienceforums.net]

Science & in particular the science industry, is not perfect. It is, however, much less perfect than ever. :(

Re:treat the host pool (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139550)

Well, before you can vaccinate a bat you need a vaccine. In order to get a vaccine you need to study the virus extensively. The goal of this "dna twiddling" is to make the virus easier to study on a larger scale. It would seem this effort is right in line with what you're suggesting. Even more so because in order to realistically vaccinate bats you're going to need an ingestible or more likely inhalable vaccine, which is harder than an injectable one so it's going to need even more study.

Nerves of steel (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138014)

Talk about an iron constitution; there is no way I'd walk into a room and work for hours with a virus that violently kills almost everyone it infects, should "something go wrong".

Re:Nerves of steel (5, Insightful)

ajs (35943) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138144)

there is no way I'd walk into a room and work for hours with a virus that violently kills almost everyone it infects, should "something go wrong".
What do you think happens should "something go wrong" when you're working with a vat of fry grease that can melt off skin at McDonalds? The risk there is much more serious, since training is much less strict and controls are not federally monitored.

What do you think happens should "something go wrong" when you're assembling a skyscraper? Pouring molten steel? Flying a plane? Heck, just driving a car can kill you in the most horrible ways.

If you want safe, you're pretty much hosed.

If you want to balance risk with precaution, work in an industry where the life and death of not just you, but lots of others are on the line. You'll quickly find that the level of precaution taken is burdensome, but quite reassuring.

PS: It doesn't kill everyone. To quote Wikipedia:

Mortality rates are extremely high, with the human case-fatality rate ranging from 50% - 89%, according to viral subtype.[3] The cause of death is usually due to hypovolemic shock or organ failure.

-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebola [wikipedia.org] (citation from http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol11no02/04-0533.htm [cdc.gov] )

Cool! Safe Ebola! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22138054)

Where do I sign up?

One has to wonder if the 'safe virus itself' (1)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138112)

Can be a vaccine... After all it would attach to the sites on a cell where a non modified virus of the same type would attach (presumably) thus robbing denying any other viruses that site...

Re:One has to wonder if the 'safe virus itself' (1)

ChronoReverse (858838) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138758)

That's not how vaccines work...

28 Days Later (1)

lucifig (255388) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138152)

Oye, we're boned. They just created RAGE.

Re:28 Days Later (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22138824)

That's exactly what I thought...great movie(s) too and I can't wait for the next one.

I love stuff like this (1)

EB FE (1208132) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138168)

Ebola totally used to pwn humans. Now we're like *yoink*! Take that, virus; you're castrated! Revenge is sweet.

FYI, there is already an ebola vaccine (2, Interesting)

wildgeechi (1224828) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138178)

Its currently in human trials and has 100% efficacy. They don't even need the virus on hand to R&D the vaccine, and only conduct actual FDA trials at a BSL 4 site

Creationist Idea (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22138184)

Seems like an idea that only a creationist could love. If God invented the Ebola virus, then removing a gene should create a permanently harmless version. If evolution created Ebola, then it's almost certain this "harmless" Ebola will re-evolve the capacity to infect and kill the Homo genus.

Oh great... (1)

Spudtrooper (1073512) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138222)

Now you know it's only a matter of time before somebody puts it into an energy drink.

Rockstar: Now with Ebola!

Easier solution (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138332)

On the other hand, hyperventilation and mass Sterno consumption are known to counteract its ability to replicate.

Now they won't need to activate that laboratory self-destruct!

Where are the scientists priorities?!??! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22138436)

Great, but it's -2 degrees in Madison this morning along with a fresh coat of 8.8 inches of snow.

Can the scientists mutate the virus to spread on area roads and act like salt or some type of anti-slip brine spray?

Yeah right, and monkey kidney cells would come out of my butt! Rock on Wayne! Rock on Garth! Fish heads!

Aim for the head (4, Funny)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138514)

The scientists still want the virus to replicate in order to study it, so they developed monkey kidney cells which contained the protein needed.

Hey, isn't that how the Rage virus got started? Pretty soon those monkeys will develop a taste for human brains, the military will see this as a promising new bio-weapon and, 28 days later, Milla Jovovich is naked on your shower floor washing away the zombie blood...again.

Do these people NEVER learn?

Re:Aim for the head (1)

EB FE (1208132) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138812)

Milla Jovovich is from a different movie.

Re:Aim for the head (1)

eheldreth (751767) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139478)

Umm, Zombies and naked Milla Jovovich or no Zombies. Zombies and naked Milla Jovovich or no Zombies. Zombies and naked Milla Jovovich or no Zombies. I really just can't decide. Does it have to be one or the other?

Only eight genes? (2, Insightful)

RandoX (828285) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138888)

If there are only eight genes, why is this specific one called VP30? Why not VP1-8? (Or VP0-7?)

Life After People (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138896)

Cool, so I guess now we can see how long our buildings and things will last after people die off, wait, there will be noone around to watch.

Sounds good (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138956)

Maybe it will help my wife from saying she has ebola all the time when she gets the flu

Jurasic Park like problem awaiting to happen (0, Redundant)

pablochacin (1061488) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139212)

Didn't these guys see (or better, read the book) Jurasic Park? This is a pandemia awaiting to hapen. As Dr. Malco said, "Nature always find its way". I'm booking for the first comercial flight to another planet, just in case.

Slashdot News Network (SNN) 2010 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22139518)

Slashdot News Network (SNN) 2010

*Flashes back to first scene from movie - I Am Legend*....

There we go again.. Perhaps we'll get to see hairless people like in the movie who are infected with "safely" mutated viruses in just a few years time? OMGOMG. Perhaps they're afraid of UV rays too! WOOTS!
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>