Artificially created virus can become the new weapon of terrorism

Annually in the world, there are many discoveries in biology and genetic engineering. Most of them have global significance, as new vaccines able to cure millions of sick people. However, with the development of science, there are new threats due to their possible use against the man. Scientists have managed to create synthetically modified pathogenic microorganisms and now fear that they can use to infect humans on a global scale.

The development of synthetic biology opens new frontiers in the field of Virology, public health and even global security

The threat of bioterrorism

When getting the latest technology in the “wrong” hands, she can create weapons that can inflict catastrophic damage. In connection with the recent acts of the local manifestations of terror, such as the crash of flight 370 of Malaysia Airlines in 2014, and the collapse of the A321 aircraft Kogalymavia in 2015, which has claimed hundreds of lives, synthetic viruses with the ability to move around the world, while exposing significant risk to billions of people.

Thanks to new discoveries, scientists were able to develop a powerful tool to change DNA, which has been named CRISPR. It greatly simplifies genetic engineering, and also makes it much cheaper, which allows to expand the opportunities for many researchers.

The development of Virology and synthetic biology is advancing significant steps, for example in 2011, virologists have successfully changed the DNA of the deadly virus H5N1, known as avian influenza. Scientists have managed to turn it into “the Armageddon virus”, by changing just two key genes. Thus, the H5N1 virus has turned into a deadly infection that spreads much faster and can cause the deaths of a large number of people. During the epidemic of avian influenza in 2005 killed more than three hundred people, and in the case of a virus with a modified DNA the account will go on millions.

Such experiments on modification of DNA viruses has raised a public outcry, which resulted in a total ban on such studies in Europe and the United States. By the way, to discuss with like-minded people and the possibility of emergence of superbugs, you can in our official Telegram chat.

The genome of influenza virus has a sequence of about 1000 nucleotides. Even though such a small number, scientists were able to create code which significantly strengthened the H5N1 virus

See also: world's First recorded case of bird flu from a cat

Modified viruses

Scientists and experts believe that the consequences of such risks is huge and critical. The creation of infectious viruses makes the world vulnerable to the hostile misuse of science.

To prevent terrible doomsday scenario, experts are considering several options. One of them — a total ban on synthetic biology. However, according to researchers, a direct prohibition are not able to completely protect people, because thanks to new, simplified technology, to create the pathogen is possible in the ordinary laboratory.

Experts offer alternatives in the form of a system that is able to detect pathogens in the air. A second possible option may be to expand biotechnology infrastructure. Through this step, the vaccine production can occur in pharmacies and doctors ‘ offices that will allow people to obtain essential medicines. This method is able to save from death a countless number of lives, however, if the development of synthetic biology will also develop rapidly, according to experts hostile synthetic superbugs may appear in the next 15-20 years.

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