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SARS Conspiracy Theory

  1. Apr 2, 2003 #1
    My biology teacher who seems to hate biotechnology said that "SARS is possibly a product of biotechnology that went wrong!" and things like that, persuading the whole class to beleive it. I don't know much about biotechnology/SARS but I don't think what my teacher said is true because I've never heard of it anywhere else. Can you guys tell me what facts (if any) I can use to counter his "idea"?

    Thanks a lot!
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 2, 2003 #2


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    if could list your teacher argument that would help to know why he thinks it is a biotech experiment that went mad.

    Also recently researcher have developed virulent virus in labs. this was on the news and i think its been published in Nature or Science. The experiement was actually an accident. So it migth help you teacher at beliving that the SARS is a biotech experiment that went mad.

    According to the news the virus responsible for SARS is a coronaviruses. Coronaviruses are RNA virus and RNA viruses are more prone to mutation due to the enzyme reverse transcriptase. Therefore the virus that we seen now migth just be a more virulent strain of an identify virus.

    Best i can do for now
  4. Apr 2, 2003 #3
    The CDC (centers for disease control) and labs in Hong Kong believe SARS is a coronavirus that spread to humans from animals (birds, I think.) It's so new there's not a lot of evidence yet though.

    Unfortunately, many people who are opposed to biotechnology seem to have almost religious fervor about it, and arguing with them is quite often futile. Give it a try, but don't be surprised if you hear evidence dismissed as "government propaganda"... :)
  5. Apr 2, 2003 #4


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    It is inevitable that people would eventually turn this into a conspiracy theory. Pretty much every new disease gets one. Nevermind that there is no evidence to suggest it - it just sounds possible (and interesting) that it could be a conspiracy so people buy into it.
  6. Apr 3, 2003 #5


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    Researchers have previously synthesized a virus (almost) completely from scratch, I think it was the polio virus? So it is not a strange idea that the virus causing SARS could be a product of biotechnology, especially in this time where biological weapons are a hot debate.

    But I don't think that your teacher is right in this case. In order to make a virus like this, I would think that the best way would be to combine the characteristics of two virusses. I am pretty sure that virologists/biochemists will be able to trace back the origin of the virus, whether it is recombinant or just a fluke of nature.

    The theory that it jumped from animals to humans is very likely, especially since people in that part of china live very close together with animals so the opportunity is there.

    There is a very interesting example actually where an algea has started to take over our seas, I will attempt to write an article on it for physicspost.com
  7. Apr 3, 2003 #6


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    Glad to see that our public education system continues to hire the best and the brightest.

    Don't tell me he does not accept mutation as a form of evolution too.
  8. Apr 7, 2003 #7
    if SARS is the best an accident of biotech can do... imagine what nature can (hint - HIV, Ebola).
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