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Mon Oct 20, 2014, 01:50 PM

I was wrong -

Last August I posted a comment speculating that if enough humans were infected with Ebola, and one particular virus mutated the right way, then we would end up dealing with airborne Ebola.

I was wrong. I have since learned that given the structure of Ebola, chances of it mutating to an airborne form are about as likely as a puppy being born with wings.

"The question often asked is whether Ebola could evolve to spread through the air in dried particles, entering the body along a pathway into the lungs. Eric Lander, the head of the Broad Institute, thinks that this is the wrong question to ask. Lander is tall, with a square face and a mustache, and he speaks rapidly and with conviction. “That’s like asking the question ‘Can zebras become airborne,’ ” he said. In order to become fully airborne, Ebola virus particles would need to be able to survive in a dehydrated state on tiny dust motes that remain suspended in the air and then be able to penetrate cells in the lining of the lungs. Lander thinks that Ebola is very unlikely to develop these abilities. “That would be like saying that a virus that has evolved to have a certain life style, spreading through direct contact, can evolve all of a sudden to have a totally different life style, spreading in dried form through the air. A better question would be ‘Can zebras learn to run faster?’ ”

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/10/27/ebola-wars?intcid=mod-most-popular

16 replies, 3027 views

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Arrow 16 replies Author Time Post
Reply I was wrong - (Original post)
hedgehog Oct 2014 OP
SheilaT Oct 2014 #1
raccoon Oct 2014 #2
liberal N proud Oct 2014 #3
JaneyVee Oct 2014 #4
jtuck004 Oct 2014 #8
csziggy Oct 2014 #13
jtuck004 Oct 2014 #14
Mugu Oct 2014 #16
Curmudgeoness Oct 2014 #5
uppityperson Oct 2014 #6
mnhtnbb Oct 2014 #7
deurbano Oct 2014 #9
FLPanhandle Oct 2014 #10
alcibiades_mystery Oct 2014 #11
freshwest Oct 2014 #12
Logical Oct 2014 #15

Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Mon Oct 20, 2014, 01:59 PM

1. Thanks for posting that link.

 

And thanks for being willing to say you were wrong.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Mon Oct 20, 2014, 02:00 PM

2. That post definitely proves you aren't Republican.

They'd never admit they were wrong.

Thanks for posting.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Mon Oct 20, 2014, 02:05 PM

3. A puppy with wings?


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Response to liberal N proud (Reply #3)

Mon Oct 20, 2014, 02:14 PM

4. Adorable. I'll take 2.

 

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Response to liberal N proud (Reply #3)

Mon Oct 20, 2014, 04:51 PM

8. Is that a bird dog? n/t

 

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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #8)

Mon Oct 20, 2014, 10:48 PM

13. I think it's a Wren Tin Tin!

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Response to csziggy (Reply #13)

Mon Oct 20, 2014, 11:47 PM

14. +100 <G> n/t

 

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Response to csziggy (Reply #13)

Tue Oct 21, 2014, 01:42 AM

16. Well done!!! n/t

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Mon Oct 20, 2014, 03:50 PM

5. Well, no one can accuse you of being a Republican

since that would make it impossible for you to admit that you were wrong.

Thanks for the information. I have already been hearing others talk about it becoming airborne, and it is good to have good old scientific info on it.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Mon Oct 20, 2014, 03:52 PM

6. Thank you for the link. It is good to learn about things.

And good to be able to say you were wrong, you learned.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Mon Oct 20, 2014, 04:17 PM

7. I am reading The Hot Zone by Richard Preston

An excerpt:

The Ebola Experiments were not a success in the sense that the drugs had no effect on the virus. All of Gene Johnson's infected monkeys died no matter what drugs they were given. They all died. The virus absolutely nuked the monkeys. It was a complete slate wiper. The only survivors of the experiment were the two control monkeys--the healthy, uninfected monkeys that lived in cages across the room from the sick monkeys. The control monkeys had not been infected with Ebola, and so, as expected, they had not become sick.

Then, two weeks after the incident with the bloody glove, something frightening happened in the Ebola rooms. The two healthy monkeys developed red eyes and bloody noses, and they crashed and bled out. They had never been deliberately infected with Ebola virus, and they had not come near the sick monkeys. They were separated from the sick monkeys by open floor...

But Ebola had drifted across a room. It had moved quickly, decisively, and by an unknown route. Most likely the control monkeys inhaled it into their lungs...."It probably traveled through the air in aerosolized secretions. That was when I knew that Ebola can travel through the air."

p. 64-65.

(The speculation that the Ebola virus could be aerosolized and infect otherwise healthy monkeys during the experiment
is made by Major Nancy Jaax, a veterinarian in the United States Army, in 1983, while serving at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), specializing in the effects of Biosafety Level 4 hot agents, volunteering
as a pathologist for Johnson's Ebola project.)

And the "bloody glove" incident is one that happened to her when her protective gear was discovered to have leaks and she was
scared out of her wits--to the point she collapsed--when she discovered it because she had cut that hand the night before while prepping veggies for her kids' dinner.

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Response to mnhtnbb (Reply #7)

Mon Oct 20, 2014, 04:52 PM

9. Just keep in mind what Richard Preston, himself, believes:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/20/books/the-hot-zone-author-tracks-ebolas-evolution.html?_r=0

A WORD WITH: RICHARD PRESTON
Updating a Chronicle of Suffering: Author of ‘The Hot Zone’ Tracks Ebola’s Evolution

By ALEXANDRA ALTEROCT. 19, 2014


…<<Q. It has been more than two decades since you started writing about Ebola. How has your understanding of the virus evolved?

A. It’s changed a great deal. We know a lot more about Ebola in the intervening 20 years. Initially, there were a lot of fears that Ebola could mutate to become the airborne Andromeda strain that would wipe us all out. With what we know now about the genetic code of the virus, Ebola does not travel through the air in airborne form and is very unlikely to mutate that way. Another thing that’s been learned about Ebola is the mutation rate. The virus is continually mutating as it’s moving through the human population. It’s testing out its new environment. One of the biggest concerns is that all of our drugs and tests and vaccines for Ebola need to be adjusted. We can adjust the tests, but we need to watch how the virus is doing. We have a whole bunch of new tools that we never had in the 1990s. We now have the ability to use genetic sequencing machines to read the code of the virus again and again. This is like making a video of the virus moving in real time. We now have our eyes on the enemy.

Q. Some of your descriptions of the virus and its symptoms in “The Hot Zone” have been called inaccurate and hyperbolic. Are you planning to release an updated version of “The Hot Zone” with information related to the current crisis?

A. Yes, I am dying to update the book. I want to make the clinical picture of the virus more clear and accurate. In the original “Hot Zone,” I have a description of a nurse weeping tears of blood. That almost certainly didn’t happen. When a person has Ebola, the eyes can turn brilliant red from blood vessels leaking and blood oozing out of the eyelid. That’s horrifying, but it’s not someone with tears of blood running down their face. I want to fix that….>>

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Mon Oct 20, 2014, 06:32 PM

10. Very cool.

Lots of people here speculated about an airborne Ebola. You are the only one who took the effort to see that it's a remote possibility.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Mon Oct 20, 2014, 06:35 PM

11. A virus "mutating" to "go airborne" is largely a fantasy

 

It feeds people's desire for the Great Monster Out There, but that's all it is.

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Response to alcibiades_mystery (Reply #11)

Mon Oct 20, 2014, 10:28 PM

12. The Great Monster Out There = And Under The Bed!

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Tue Oct 21, 2014, 12:40 AM

15. Very few posters would do this. Congrats for doing it. Nt

 

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