Baxter International

Virologist to make his case for lab origin of swine flu

Virologist to make his case for lab origin of swine flu

By Peter Duveen

PETER’S NEW YORK, Monday, June 29, 2009--The scientist who made headlines in May by positing a laboratory origin for the swine flu that has swept the world will defend his theory in the scientific literature, Peter’s New York has learned.

Dr. Adrian Gibbs, a Canberra, Australia-based virologist with more than 200 scientific publications to his credit, said that over the weekend he submitted his latest work on the swine flu to a prominent scientific journal, and is awaiting a response.

Gibbs, 75, was part of a team that developed the antiviral drug Tamiflu.

Back in April, when the first cases of swine flu were diagnosed in Mexico, Gibbs examined the genetic structure of the virus that had been posted on a public database. His analysis led him to speculate that the virus may have been the result of a laboratory error. He contacted the Geneva, Switzerland-based World Health Organization with his conjecture, and scientists there scrutinized his findings, concluding, however, that the virus was most likely a product of nature.

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News analysis

By Peter Duveen

PETER'S NEW YORK, Thursday, May 14, 2001--As health officials worldwide scramble to stem a flu pandemic, the public may be puzzled as to what all the fuss is about. Flu is generally an illness which, for most, is not more serious than the common cold. But there is good reason for concern, if the past is any judge of what the future could be like.

Because the strain of flu currently spreading around the world is said to be a descendant of the Spanish flu, deaths among those contracting the illness could be far in excess of those produced by other strains of the virus. The Spanish flu, also named the 1918 flu, was known for the high proportion of deaths attributed to those infected by it. It had a mortality rate of 2.5 percent or more, far greater than that of ordinary human flu.