Genetically Altered Bird Flu Virus Not as Dangerous as Believed, Its Maker Asserts

Alright guys,

I am in snowy Telluride, CO right now, unable to provide you guys with a
vlog...Please try to remain calm. I am truly, truly sorry. HOWEVER, while
in CO, I found this article in the New York Times about the genetically
altered Bird Flu virus, claiming that it isn't as dangerous as was
previously thought. The link is below. I want you to read it and post your
"2-cents" on a few things.

Firstly, I'm wondering what you think caused the "overstated danger" of the
virus in the first place? Did you feel it could have been the result of
journalists covering the issue? What do you think about this ethically?

Secondly, the quotes the reporter used were from people with relevant
credentials, however, to me they were not "medical" and "fact oriented"
enough to back the claims made in this article. For example, Ron Fouchier
in his quotes says "we heard...," etc. Did you guys feel this was
appropriate? Let me hear your thoughts.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/01/science/maker-says-bird-flu-virus-not-as-dangerous-as-thought.html?_r=1&ref=health

Have a great rest of break, fellow Wolverines! :)

-Rachelle Hadley
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About emiliaaskari

Journalist, teacher, news game designer. Promoting digital literacy and content creation in the public interest.

3 Responses to “Genetically Altered Bird Flu Virus Not as Dangerous as Believed, Its Maker Asserts”

  1. I think it is easy to claim that an article does not show both sides of the story. However, in this case I think the article must be seen through the lens of when it was released. For the past few months there has been lots of news coverage about the ‘censoring’ of a publication with a ‘horrible deadly virus.’ This article is really trying to get the response to that. The article is only concerned with getting the response from the doctors.

    In this day and age of internet journalism rehashing the entire story is not really necessary. If a reader wants to read about the first story he can just click on a link to read it.

    If you think the purpose of this story is to get the researcher’s viewpoint the story has been a success. If you think the purpose of this story is to find out if the virus was actually dangerous the story was a failure because there were few outside sources.

    Austen Hufford

  2. “The scientist who made a deadly bird flu…” Let’s stop there. I already have problems with what I am about to read. Before I even question how deadly the virus is, I’m already asking myself “Why would the scientists make it more dangerous in the first place?”

    When reading this article, I imagined this could be like reading about testing of the atomic bomb back in the 1940’s. We’re just creating and testing atomic bombs for the sake of science. We tested them in a desert, or in this case ferrets, because it models what would happen in a real life situation. Not real enough? World War III might be the grand debut of bird flu weapons of mass destruction.

    Even though I don’t trust everything in this article because it’s lacking outside sources, it’s newsworthy because of the potential. If 1918 was about to happen all over again, I’d want to know about it! But I wouldn’t duck and cover until they get their facts straight.

    Jonelle Doctor
    167 words

  3. At first I found this article to be vague. I wondered what testing was being done to let us know “how transmissible” the flu is and exactly the severity. The paragraph about the ferrets partially explained the previous statement, but not fully. Other than saying that Ferrets “react to the virus in much the same way that people do,” I was curious as to how accurate ferret testing is. What is the reason behind this similar response? The article ended by answering that exact question. They explained the inaccuracies in comparing testing on ferrets to outcomes in human. I then wondered…what did I just learn? If ferret testing is not a perfect model, what are these statistics based on. Why shouldn’t the public be worried about this outbreak of the flu? I went from being confused, to being comforted about the possible outbreak, to being confused and worried about the statistics being given to the general public.

    Nicole Braverman
    157 Words

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