An Australian researcher has suggested that a vaccine-manufacturing accident may have created the virus that caused the swine flu outbreak.
Retired Australian National University virologist, Adrian Gibbs, was quoted ON Thursday by the website ScienceInsider as suggesting that a laboratory accident may have created the virus now sweeping the world.
"I bumped into an advertisement for an influenza vaccine for pigs that contained three different viruses," Gibbs told the website.
He added the latest outbreak led him to scour the public databases and compare the genes of the recently-discovered A (H1N1) virus-which is a mix of swine, avian, and human influenzas-with its closest ancestors.
He confirmed, as others have reported, that six of the eight genes appeared to come from North America and two others came from Eurasia, which suggested that there were two parental viruses which had resorted.
"Not killing off the virus could explain the whole thing very neatly, but it's only one of several possibilities."
Scientists with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) -who similarly are skeptical about the hypothesis- have been forced to examine the evidence and publicly discuss the idea.
Gibbs, who contributed to the research that produced the drug Tamiflu used to treat influenza cases, said he was ready to be proved wrong.
"Scientists are trained to be iconoclasts, not to believe what they're told," he said. "And they don't believe until they've really had a good go at it." source
1 day ago