T.D. Laing tdlaing at nospam.dres.dnd.ca
Mon Oct 26 09:44:27 EST 1998

In article <3631a303.4174575 at news.virgin.net>, fybog at NOSPAMhotmail.com
(fybog) wrote:

> On Sun, 18 Oct 1998 16:24:36 +0100, "Deano" <deanwaller at email.msn.com>
> wrote:
> >Hi. I hope you don't mind me butting in but bio-warfare is a subject that
> >really interests me and I have been following your conversation.
> >There are many viruses that fulfil most of the criteria for being a
> >doomsday virus. Diseases such as certain strains of Ebola and Marlbro (sp?)
> >have a mortality rate of 90-100%, an incubation period of about 72 hours and
> >it wouldn't take long for a strain to mutate and become airborne.
> I think you will find it is nearer 80% mortality for Ebola and 25% for
> Marburg and both have an incubation period of 10 days. And as for them
> becoming airborne, that just happened in "Outbreak" at an appropriate
> dramatic moment. If they were going to mutate and become airborne they
> would probably have done it by now.

Actually, the Reston variant of Ebola virus, which affected a monkey
colony in Reston, Virginia about 9 years ago, was an airborne virus.  The
keepers were found to have anti-Ebola antibodies in their blood, but were
unaffected by the virus (as at the time it was monkey-specific).  So,
don't think it can't happen with the human-specific variants.

> I am not dismissing biological warfare, but we have to try not to get
> too carried away. It is perfectly possible that these viruses have
> been engineered to be more virulent for use in biological weapons, but
> the likelihood of them being used by one nation against another is
> pretty remote.

But, no one can control terrorists, which is a more likely scenario than a
nation using biowarfare.  After all, that cult in Japan gassed a Tokyo
subway with sarin (nerve gas), and you don't need all that much technology
to grow some of the favorite biowarfare bugs.

> Hope you don't mind me butting in here, but we should really try to
> keep things in perspective.

I'd be more worried about other bugs than Ebola or Marburg.  Like a really
nasty flu strain.


T.D. Laing
tdlaing at dres.dnd.ca

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