Swine flu created in lab accident, says Australian scientist

May 14th, 2009 - 8:41 am ICT by IANS  

Sydney, May 14 (DPA) A Canberra researcher reckons the swine flu virus could have been created inadvertently by scientists working with eggs to grow new viruses and test new vaccines.
Retired Australian National University virologist Adrian Gibbs was quoted Thursday by the website ScienceInsider as suggesting that a laboratory accident may have created the virus now sweeping the world.

Influenza specialists at the World Health Organisation (WHO) are examining the theory that swine flu - a mix of genetic material from pigs, birds and human beings - is an escapee from a research laboratory.

“I bumped into an advertisement for an influenza vaccine for pigs that contained three different viruses,” Gibbs told ScienceInsider. “Not killing off the virus could explain the whole thing very neatly, but it’s only one of several possibilities.”

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.”

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