Synthetic farm virus built in lab

See on Scoop.itVirology News

An artificial version of the Schmallenberg virus has been made by scientists in Scotland as part of research to find out more about the livestock disease.

Ed Rybicki‘s insight:

I love misinformative headlines – and the sub-editors who write them [NOT!!].  Do they mean "virus of synthetic farms"?  "Synthetic virus infecting farms"?


What they ACTUALLY mean here is that folk in Scotland have used a reverse genetics approach (=made an infectious clone, by expressing genomic RNA from a cDNA in the presence of appropriate viral proteins co-expressed form another DNA) to make infectious Schmallenberg virus, which causes abortion in sheep, among other things.


Now it is interesting that, although these guys claim to have made a MORE virulent form of the virus in mice, that there is no outcry, along the lines of the H5N1 saga of recent times.  And possibly there should be, because no-one knows what happens to the host range if you passage the virus in mice, not to mention transmissibility.

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