Building a Better Strain of Monkeypox
New reports from Science revealed that virus experts at a government lab in Bethesda, Maryland, are planning to conduct an experiment to swap genes between two strains of monkeypox, one that causes more severe sickness and the other that causes large rashes and flu-like symptoms.
The latest monkeypox study is being funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a research arm of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
But the modified virus ‘poses an exceptionally high risk’ to the public if it accidentally leaks, according to Dr. Richard Ebright, a microbiologist at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
The team in Maryland would argue their work does not involve ‘enhancing’ a pathogen because they are swapping natural mutations rather than creating new ones, meaning the hybrid cannot be more deadly than the existing clades.
But the news will no doubt surprise many Americans that such research continues to go on in the US despite fears similar practices may have started the pandemic.
The Maryland team’s work is being led by NIAID scientist Bernard Moss at the agency’s headquarters in Bethesda.
This phase of the study will involve extracting dozens of genes from the more severe clade 1 monkeypox virus and putting them into the milder clade 2 virus.
They will then infect mice with the hybrid virus and monitor how the disease progresses.
The team had initially attempted the reverse: swapping genetic materials in the less virulent clade into clade 1 to make it less deadly but without success.
The current global outbreak is confirmed to be driven by clade 2, the less deadly West African monkeypox strain, which has a mortality rate of less than one percent.
Clade 1, meanwhile, kills one in 10 people it infects. It has its origins in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and primarily spreads in the Congo Basin.
MSNBC’s Lament (and response)
* Quote of the day: “It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succor of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
* Dogs never lie about love.
* Danish frogman corps (Frømandskorpset) (right)
* I love how we went from “death panels would never happen under nationalized Obamacare style healthcare” to “the Canadian government-run healthcare is openly euthanizing people it doesn’t want to treat” in less than 15 years. The slippery slope is real and we’re only about halfway down it.
* I’m on a J. R. R. Tolkien roll today, “The main mark of modern governments is that we do not know who governs, de facto any more than de jure. We see the politician and not his backer; still less the backer of the backer; or, what is most important of all, the banker of the backer.”
* Just one day after 15 Pennsylvania House Republicans sent a letter to acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman demanding to know why 240,000 unverified ballots had been mailed out (“which, according to the law, must be set aside and not counted for the 2022 General Election unless the voter produces lD,” the lawmakers wrote), Chapman revealed that there will likely be delays posting the results after the midterm elections as they expect to find ballots supporting the Democrat ticket until the donkeys win.
From Nelson’s Navy
Sew Sew Boys – Sailors who have a special talent for sewing
Jack of the Dust– Purser Mate
Jack Nasty Face– a low-ranking sailor
Landlubber– a landsman who has no knowledge of the sea
Fireship – a prostitute with a venereal disease
Spouter, or a Blubber Hunter – a Whaler
Admiral of the Narrow Seas– a Sailor who threw up in the lap of a comrade
Vice Admiral of the Narrow Seas– a Sailor who has managed to pee on a mate’s shoes under the table.
Long Tailed Beggar– a Cat
Lubber– a lumbering, awkward fellow a stout, clumsy oaf who struggles with seamanship
Bone Polisher– a cat of nine tails
Bugs– a dirty slovenly sailor
Bully Boys– an American sailor
Jack Tar – a British sailor
Cook`s warrant – an operation that ends in amputation
The Croaker– a Surgeon
The Doctor – a cook
Davy Jones’s natural children – pirates, smugglers, scamps, scalawags, and rovers
Jimmy the One – the first Lieutenant in the Royal Navy
Johnny Hawbuck– an officer who dressed like a dandy at sea
Landshark – A Lawyer
Limey– another name for a British sailor
Jollies, Lobsters – A Royal Marine
Manxman – a sailor from the Isle of Man
Nip cheese – the Purser