Laurie Garrett of Foreign Policy looks into the recent flood of dead pigs washing up to the shores of major Chinese cities and wonders if this is a pandemic that's being born.
Here's how it would happen. Children playing along an urban river bank would spot hundreds of grotesque, bloated pig carcasses bobbing downstream. Hundreds of miles away, angry citizens would protest the rising stench from piles of dead ducks and swans, their rotting bodies collecting by the thousands along river banks. And three unrelated individuals would stagger into three different hospitals, gasping for air. Two would quickly die of severe pneumonia and the third would lay in critical condition in an intensive care unit for many days. Government officials would announce that a previously unknown virus had sickened three people, at least, and killed two of them. And while the world was left to wonder how the pigs, ducks, swans, and people might be connected, the World Health Organization would release deliberately terse statements, offering little insight.
It reads like a movie plot -- I should know, as I was a consultant for Steven Soderbergh's Contagion. But the facts delineated are all true, and have transpired over the last six weeks in China. The events could, indeed, be unrelated, and the new virus, a form of influenza denoted as H7N9, may have already run its course, infecting just three people and killing two.
|"With CRISPR, what lines do we absolutely not cross?"|
|What the Post-Antibiotics Future Will Look Like|
|"The first commercial gene therapy to provide an outright cure for a deadly disease."|
|Human Killing Virus Fun!|
|"People can pay $8,000 to have their veins pumped with blood plasma from teenagers."|
|“If you don’t remember any of these countries from geography class, you’re not alone.”|
|“The greatest economic crisis of our age: the one still awaiting us.”|
|"Cells have the capacity to process and respond to instructions and codes inputted into their main system."|
|Making a Movie Inside a Video Game|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|“We deserve pity for being born in such primitive times.”|
|Google Map Shows You the Most Photographed Areas of the World|
|“Instead of consuming fossil fuels, it would then feed surplus electricity into the grid.”|
|“Any person, organization or government serious about web security should return to plain-text.”|
|“Clicking on a Facebook advert may reveal things about yourself you don’t want anyone to know.”|
|"They’ve managed to plant, tend, and harvest an acre and a half of barley using only autonomous vehicles."|