A Crime Against Humanity
As most people probably know by now, virologists have resurrected what may be the most deadly disease in human history.
The common estimate of the world's human population in 1900 is about 1,600,000,000. Assuming that the disease killed 40 million people, this would mean that the Spanish influenza killed about 2.5% of the world's population at a time when there were no airplanes, no jet travel.
Casting this on today's stage, a 2.5% fatality rate would mean the death of about 163 million people. (If the flu actually did kill 100 million in 1918/19 this would equate to about 390 million people.)
Given the ease at which people move around the planet today, there is no reason to assume that the infection rate would be anything but higher than it was in 1918.
Now the good news:
The virus will be studied by researchers around the world. The recent chilling account of Plum Island in Lab 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government's Secret Germ Laboratory (2004) makes it pretty clear that biocontainment is anything but fail-safe.
FYI: At a public meeting in Dunn, Wisconsin, University officials tried to convince the citizens that a BSL-4 lab -- alledgedly intended to replace Plum Island -- would be a good thing for the community. They admitted that not one of the University "experts" had read this harrowing account.
The continuing reports by the Sunshine Project make it pretty clear that accidents happen pretty regularly, that the biowarriors concocting the secret bioweapons are pretty dumb and arrogant, and that each and every BSL-3 and BSL-4 lab around the globe is about as safe as the space shuttle.
See UW Madison's self-congratulatory announcements about these "breakthroughs":
Study uncovers a lethal secret of 1918 influenza virus
Gene from 1918 virus proves key to virulent influenza
Resurrecting an extinct virus known to have been the most deadly disease yet encountered must rank as one of the greatest crimes in human history. At some point in the future, when the virus escapes or is unleashed as a weapon, let us remember that at the forefront of the work to reawaken this scourge was the University of Wisconsin, and that no one associated with the University said a word in opposition.