Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsBiology · 1 decade ago

Is it possible that the swine flu virus is an engineered recombinant strain?

I've asked this in the infectious diseases section, but wanted to ask in the biology section too since there may be people who know more about influenza.


Not to sound paranoid, but there are a few odd things about this virus that are emerging. The most alarming is that it appears to have genetic material from avian flu, human flu, and swine flu. Since flu viruses do not exchange genetic material during their reproductive cycle, how could this be a natural phenomenon?

34 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    The answer to that question is another question.

    While a virus mutates all the time, there must be stages of milder versions around.

    In the case that there are absolutely no mild versions of this virus around, then the chance is bigger that it may have been engineered.

    If there are many mild versions around, then it is probably of natural origin.

    So the question is: Are there many mild versions around and is there a killer mutation.

    If the mild version and the killer version is the same virus that acts differently in different people so in the case there is no mutation, then with 100 deaths if there are 100.000 infected people around, you can call this a regular flu with less than 1% death rate.

    If we have 200 people outside Mexico that got infected by just going there for a couple of days, then inside Mexico we must have at least a couple of million infected people. They are infected people we don't know about because they just have a mild flu. Assuming there was no mutation, then 100 deaths is no issue and we just discovered a new flu by checking some death causes.

    In this case it is probably not engineered.

    Caution must be taken to rule out a killer mutation, and a new virus has the potential, and that is the hysteria you see in the media.

    If some person get infected with swine flu by a swine and a human flu at the same time, then it can recombine in the human. I think it is also possible a swine got a human flu and a swine flu and the virus recombined in the swine. Note that the swine will not cover its nose when sneezing and spread the flu with other swines, infecting humans as well.

    Source(s): Logic
  • 1 decade ago

    I am not a bio-engineer, but I suspect that it is quite possible that the virus could have been engineered, tho finding direct evidence of that is highly unlikely. It is of great fascination to me that it contains such a diverse set of "fingerprints", from widely dispersed locations. It is an unlikely but not impossible combination. Some very good earlier responses to this post describe the mechanism for mutation quite nicely.

    I would *also* make an interesting counter-argument to those who think the intent of releasing a virus like this could be malign... It could also explain why it is overall far less lethal than one might assume would be true for a weaponized disease.

    This virus contains segments of a flu lineage (Avian) which has in someplaces had a 60% mortality rate. What if someone might have engineered and released this as a *challenge* virus, in an effort to build immunity in populations against a threat that is over 100 times more lethal?

  • 1 decade ago

    The first diagnose of the swine flu was in 1976 but returned again in 2007 and now stronger than before in 2009.

    Related to the vaccine, there has been inconsistent responses to it since the flu has grown stronger. The current vaccines are oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza), it is said that the flu is susceptible to those but not guarantee to cure it. Scientist are still doing research on the swine flu because it is rare of the mix of avian-human-swine but remember that viruses evolve through time, so it could be a posibility.

    The vaccine for the human seasonal flu does not protect against the Swine Flu, even if the virus strains are the same specific variety, as antigenically very different.

    The virus was transmitted first from pigs to humans but became dangerous when it started infecting human-to-human. That's why it is also very important for the people who have swine farms to take their pigs to the veterinary for a swine flu vaccine. Maybe this is one of the big reasons that the flu started so strong in Mexico (since more people live from farms than in the US).

  • 1 decade ago

    swine flu is just yet another virus mutating to survive. All viruses do. That is why we have flu epidemics every year. Between 250,00 and 500,00 people die every year from the regular flu. Viruses mutate to survive. And the general population does not help with our over use of antiviral and antibiotic medications. For example, the MRSA (methicillin resistant staph aureaus) surge within the past year. Why did this happen? because the bacteria mutated to become resistant to most antibiotics. And it's the same thing with influenza (any type). Im not much of a conspiracy theorist and have to laugh when I hear people say President Obama took it to Mexico to kill off the terrorists or for "population control". For Heavens sake. Flu epidemics happen. Pandemics happen, it's the course of nature. And as I said before as long as we continue to bomb our bodies with antiviral and antibiotic meds these bacterias and viruses will continue to mutate and become resistant to them, thus forming these "superbugs". Am I scared? Not really. Concerned? ok maybe. the flu sucks, no matter what type it is.

    Source(s): Hospital worker for 10 years
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  • 1 decade ago

    Given all of the other issues we are faced with when it comes to Mexico, (ie: poverty, crime, drug)s, immigration, I do not believe that it is an engineered strain. How? You may ask. I reside in the lower border region of Texas; right along the Mexican border. I work with immigrants on a daily basis and have come to recognize that this particular illness has been slow in coming but coming nonetheless. It is a natural process of evolution. Diseases, flu, meningitis, MRSA to name a few, are proof of this. It is sad to say that until it hit a national level no-one was aware of the fact that this flu was and has been here for a while, along with others that should really worry you. I believe the people in our area are the forgotten citizens of our country. Even though we have a border, a half built border wall and Homeland Security. It is a common belief that the differentiation between us and our neighbors across the border are one in the same. We haven't much choice when it comes to deciding who we will educate, treat and keep in this country. That is another issue altogether. The fact is, the rate at which children and the elderly become ill in this area is very high in comparison to the rest of our nation. Yes. Needless to say. It had to become an international issue before an acknowledgment and a plan of action was implemented. Maybe, it's our nation's way of forcing Mexico to take responsibility for it's people instead of continuing to support that nation's total disregard of it's citizens. Has anyone thought of that as a possibility?

  • 1 decade ago

    I have been asking myself that question since west nile made it over here to the US. Now ever more so after this outbreak. I think even if those in a position of authority knew that answer, they wouldn't share. I really don't think it has anything to do with Obama, just coincidence. But I have some maddening questions- Why would someone make the comment "attempts to contain or quarentine at this point would only be political..." What!? Political how, working and doing everything possible to slow and contain the spread of this thing to avoid American deaths? Russia, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia and other countries are screening people coming in and if they have a fever, they are quarentined until they can determine what is the cause of the fever before they are turned loose on their people. Why are countries who are supposed to be not as great as ours work harder (sometimes) to keep their people safe? Why do we have to make everything political? Why can't we do what is right? Secondly, in the beginning, the first cases reported in the US (Texas and CA) they refused to release the race of those infected, why? We now know they were hispanic. Why would they keep that secret? How many more reasons to we need to secure our border? While other countries are screening passengers coming off of planes, how do we screen the thousand or so people coming daily from the country teaming with this virus and sneaking illegally into our country and who knows who they are going to come into contact with. This is so upsetting- I suppose whether or not it was bio-engineered is mute until we figure out how to keep US citizens safe from it.

  • 1 decade ago

    Flu viruses (family Orthomyxoviridae) have a segmented genome, with 8 pieces of RNA each coding for one gene. When two strains infect a single cell, the progeny can be any combination of segments from each parent strain. That is called reassortment, and it is how flu viruses jump the species barrier so efficiently. So no, it is no smoking gun that this one has human, swine, and avian segments, this has been happening all along and pigs have long been known to be the mixing bowl for new flu strains. It does not mean that we are sure it was NOT bio-engineered but if it were, why would they pick something so relatively weak? Influenza is never truly mild but for it to have spread worldwide already, there must be millions of Mexicans infected, yet the deaths are not greater than 100. My vote is this one is natural.

  • 1 decade ago

    Fact: There is only a 1/10 of 1 percent chance that this "cocktail" of flu virus parts (FROM 4 DIFFERENT CONTINENTS!!!!!!!!) could have occurred naturally. Numerous biologists have said just that, so I guess the answer

    is YES! Population reduction is a major goal for many who run governments. It's only too convenient that Congress passed a law providing for "emergency centers" (FEMA camps that have already been built by KBR and have been staffed with guards for well over a year) just in time for this "emergency". Wake up! This is no accident!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    If it turns out to kill selectively Latin American people and cause mild symptoms in Caucasians and others, then it is definitely engineered.

    If this is true then please note that they will never admit this, and they will probably cover it up and say that Tamiflu is the reason why there are no more deaths to lament. But if deaths will keep occurring among the LA crowd despite Tamiflu then draw your conclusion.

    Then if that occurs, they will say: Swine flu had become resistant against Tamiflu.

    Or maybe it is of natural origen, and LA people are more susceptible for this disease, and that is why until now we notice this flu, because it arrived in Mexico and started causing deaths. Nobody had investigated this mild flu, because nobody investigates somebody who has a mild flu.

  • 1 decade ago

    Check out the links below. I just read them, and I am starting to look up more information on them. The commenters at the bottom of the articles give a lot of links. I'm not getting all tinfoil-at on everyone because I haven't researched it much, but this definitely needs to be looked in to. You have a large number bio-engineers working for the government dying violent deaths, samples of swine flu missing from Fort Derick, and a flu virus that has swine, avian, and human flu strains spreading in concentrated areas across the world at the same time. This obviously isn't some random occurrence. Research it yourself. I am trying to get more solid answers from AP sites.

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