numerous laboratory accidents, increasingly dangerous experiments

numerous laboratory accidents, increasingly dangerous experiments

1977 A global flu epidemic kills 700,000. The virus responsible, identical to a strain that had not circulated for fifteen years, evidently came from a laboratory.

2001 A series of anthrax (anthrax) attacks in the United States kills five people and infects seventeen. The alleged perpetrator, Bruce Ivins, who killed himself during the investigation, was a scientist at the government biosafety laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

2004 The SARS virus escaped twice from a high-security laboratory in China (the Chinese Institute of Virology in Beijing), infecting two scientists and six other people, one of whom died. Its low contagiousness prevents these leaks from becoming a pandemic.

2005 US researchers reconstruct the original 1918 Spanish flu virus, the deadliest in history, from a corpse exhumed from permafrost.

2007 An outbreak of bovine foot-and-mouth disease is caused by a leak, through a liquid effluent, in the high security laboratory (P4) of the Institute of Animal Health, Pirbright, United Kingdom.

2012 Two teams, in the United States and the Netherlands, announce that they have infected ferrets, thus possibly humans, with a particularly deadly influenza virus, causing an outcry. A moratorium of a few months follows.

2014 The Pasteur Institute misplaces 2,349 tubes containing SARS. The institute says the samples in question were likely destroyed, and seized independent experts believe they had “zero infectious potential”.

2013 to 2015 The press reveals a series of several hundred incidents in high-security US government laboratories (non-inactivated sample shipments, deadly flu labeled seasonal flu, infected animals escaping, etc.). There were no casualties, but the pathogens involved include deadly flu, the Ebola virus and anthrax.

2014 to 2017 The American Institutes of Health (NIH) impose a moratorium on funding for research involving gain-of-function experiments, while new regulations are defined. This, criticized for its ambiguity, should be reviewed before the end of 2022.

2015 Having obtained an exemption from the NIH moratorium, Ralph Baric (University of North Carolina) creates with his team a chimera between SARS-CoV-1 and a bat coronavirus provided by the Wuhan Institute of Virology. He manages to infect human respiratory cells with this virus, causing protests.

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