Friday, September 29, 2006

Why Worry About Bird Flu When We Are Bringing The 1918 Influenza To Town?

Seattle reached another milestone this week. From the Seattle-PI to
the BBC, corporate media reported that the UW has been working
with tissues from mice infected with the 1918 influenza virus and
versions of the influenza virus specially engineered to include
segments from the 1918 strain. It appears that some of the
experiments in question took place in South Lake Union.
Though working with the entire 1918 influenza virus should require
a BSL-4 lab (that work being done at the CDC), working with infected
tissues and the man-made strain appears to only require BSL-3
facilities and the UW has at least two such labs now in South Lake
Union. Since the research grant on 1918 influenza was awarded to
Michael Katze and since the Katze labs are located at the Rosen
Building (a designated BSL-3 facility) it’s safe to say that the
experiments reported this week took place at that facility.
Though this particular phase of research is not nearly as dangerous
future phases that involve aerosolizing the virus on live monkeys
(slated to happen at the Primate Center in Belltown), it is none-the-less
dangerous to those working at Rosen and therefore merits community
Just another indicator that Seattle needs citizen oversight and lab


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