Deadly mouse virus produced in gene engineering.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 Kyodo
An experiment using mice for gene engineering accidentally produced a deadly mouse virus, a team of Australian scientists has reported in a U.S. medical journal.
The team found breeds of laboratory mice normally resistant to the mousepox virus died when they were infected with the virus after it was modified to contain a particular gene affecting immunity.
The scientists at the Canberra-based Cooperative Research Center for the Biological Control of Pest Animals (CRC (Cyclical Redundancy Checking) An error checking technique used to ensure the accuracy of transmitting digital data. The transmitted messages are divided into predetermined lengths which, used as dividends, are divided by a fixed divisor. ) published a report on the discovery in the February issue of the Journal of Virology The Journal of Virology is an academic journal that covers research concerning viruses, using cross-disciplinary approaches including biochemistry, biophysics, cell and molecular biology, genetics, immunology, morphology, physiology and pathogenesis. .
The scientists made the discovery as part of work to develop a biological contraceptive that would halt mouse and rat plagues to prevent the damage they cause to the global food supply.
Mousepox virus does not infect humans or pose any threat to them but the scientists are concerned that if the technique were to be adopted by biowarfare researchers, it could be used to strengthen biological weapons based on viruses that do affect humans.
''In this case, we've found that certain changes to a mouse virus can render it more lethal and harder to immunize im·mu·nize
1. To render immune.
2. To produce immunity in, as by inoculation.
im against,'' CRC Director Bob Seamark sea·mark
A landmark visible from the sea, used as a guide in navigation. said.
''The best protection against any misuse of this technique was to issue a worldwide warning,'' he said.
The scientists were experimenting with the use of various viruses to deliver an antigen to the pest that causes an immune response to its own reproductive cells.
The goal is to suppress the plagues of mice and rats that destroy billions of dollars worth of the global grain harvest both in farmers' fields and in grain storage and contribute to the spread of human diseases.
They modified a mousepox virus to include the gene for a substance called interleukin-4, which affects the immune system. The aim was to boost the level of the animal's immune response to block reproduction.
The global biological weapons convention For the airport with this IATA location identifier, see .
The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (usually referred to as the needs to be strengthened to take account of the discovery, said Annabelle Duncan, a former deputy head of a U.N. team that investigated the development of biowarfare agents in Iraq in the wake of the 1991 Gulf War.