Those of you with memories longer than your average mayfly will recall the Great Avian Flu scare. A strain of influenza associated with birds started killing people in places like Hong Kong, and Vietnam, and there was a looong, nasty, tense wait to see whether it would take off and turn pandemic.
Turned out the virus was a serious killer. Of the folks infected, about 70% just plain died. Systems collapse. To give you some idea, the Great Spanish Flu pandemic which occurred in 1918 and killed more people around the world than all of World War One had a lethality of about 2.5%.
Lucky for us, the H5N1 Avian Flu virus turned out to be fairly difficult to catch. The structure of the virus itself made it pretty non-contagious in humans. It had to be inhaled deep, deep into the system before it could catch hold - which was why almost all the victims were either chicken-herders, or were directly caring for affected victims who were chicken-herders.
Whew. Sigh of relief, eh?
Except now, some unbelievably stupid Dutchman has not only genetically modified the virus to be highly contagious, while leaving it at roughly 5o% lethality... but he's also presented a paper on the topic.
I appreciate the thought that knowing this shit can potentially help us prepare... but to present this kind of stuff in a public forum is the absolute height of lunacy. People are, of course, talking about 'banning the paper'. But it's the 21st century, folks. You can bet that information is well and truly into "the wrong hands" already. Banning it at this point is a waste of time.
Folks... here's how it is. When this one gets out, we're fucked on a scale not even imagined since the 14th century.
Nice knowin' y'all.