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Eric Beard ericzbeard at email.msn.com
Wed Nov 18 17:19:29 EST 1998

In an article by Richard Preston called "The Bioweaponeers", the possibility
of incorporating ebola into the genome of smallpox was mentioned.  A Russian
defector by the name of Kanatjan Alibekov (now Ken Alibek) claims this was
accomplished in the Soviet Union with an eye toward developing a weapon with
the contaigiousness of smallpox and the lethality of ebola--"Blackpox".

I would be interested to hear the opinion of an expert in the field of
microbiology/genetics, which I am not.  A researcher at USAMRIID has stated
that the combination, while possible in theory, is implausible.

Thanks in advance for your input.

Eric Z Beard

SParker wrote in message <72r4nb$2pt$1 at news.aros.net>...
>Why is it important for ebola to aquire airborne activities via a
>evolutionary route?  This requires all sorts of particulars in the disease
>that ebola may be unable to reasonable aquire.  In order to be a good
>airborne infection the virus must be secreted into the nasopharynx in such
>quantities (without creating a secretion that would not form nice droplets,
>I would not think blood clots would form a very good aerosol) that sneezing
>would form a good mode of transition.
>If a microbe is being used in a weapon wouldn't it be made in fermentors
>instead of people?  Wouldn't the mode of transmition be a weapon not
>person-to-person contact?  I would think that many organisms that "are not"
>transmitted by aerosol could be easily transmitted by aerosol if someone
>tried hard enough.  The problem may not be so much biology (and certainly
>not evolutionary biology) but physics.

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