Deadly Viruses and Bacteria Created in Labs
Sure, maybe they can't control the wind and don't shoot lasers from their ears, but their superpowers are certainly worthy of our attention.
In case you weren’t aware, there’s been this disease called COVID-19 doing the rounds for the last 12 months or so. And despite no real evidence being found to prove this hypothesis, some people still choose to believe that the current pandemic is the result of a man-made virus.
While that might not be the case for COVID, let’s take a look at some deadly viruses and bacteria that were in fact man-made in a lab. They’re just copies of the real thing though, no bio-terrorist stuff.
Some scientists in Alberta decide to buy all sorts of DNA pieces to recreate horsepox in an attempt to make new vaccines for smallpox. This little exercise did scare a lot of people at the time, since there was a genuine fear that this knowledge could be used by terrorist groups to create a new smallpox virus. Since we no longer vaccinate for smallpox, the results would be catastrophic.
Another scary moment for science, scientists in New York pretty much did the horsepox thing but with polio DNA pieces they ordered through mail. These were pieces available from databases that pretty much everyone can access, and since it only has a genetic code of about 7700 letters (smallpox has 185000), it’s pretty easy to recreate artificially.
In this fun science experiment, a team of researchers in North Carolina made the SARS virus stronger by adding a protein to it that makes it more resistant to the current vaccines and treatments. This was done to prepare for a natural mutation and have new treatments ready if the need should ever arise, but does pose the risk that this amped-up SARS virus could escape the lab and set off an epidemic by itself.