Scientists accidentally make more lethal mousepox virus

from the oops dept.
VAB writes "Australian GE researchers accidentally created a more virulent version of the mousepox virus which proved fatal in 100% of mouse infections by adding the IL-4 gene. BBC Article: "Professor John Oxford says he would not have expected this result. He adds though that while rare, it is inevitable that unpredictable events will occur which is why experiments are closely monitored and performed in isolated laboratories."

Researcher Ron Jackson: "It would be safe to assume that if some idiot did put human IL-4 into human smallpox they'd increase the lethality quite dramatically… Seeing the consequences of what happened in the mice, I wouldn't want to be the one who'd want to do the experiment".

The Australian Department of Defense was consulted before publication of the research because of its potential impact in the ability of terrorists and outlaw states to develop biological weapons. Precipitant Research"

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