Scientists find new botulinum toxin, withhold genetic details

See on Scoop.itVirology News

Scientists have discovered the first new type of botulinum toxin in 40 years, and in a highly unusual move, they are keeping the toxin’s genetic sequence data secret for now so that no one can make it in a lab before an effective antitoxin can be developed.

Until now, Clostridium botulinum was known to produce seven types of toxins, all of which cause paralysis by blocking neurotransmitters in humans and animals. The last one was discovered in 1970.

Ed Rybicki‘s insight:

What equine excreta!?  Really??  "We found a new botulinum toxin, but we won’t tell you what it is – but it can’t be neutralised by CDC antitoxins"??  Isn’t THAT enough information for your dedicated cave-dwelling biotechnologist to go out and look, via next-gen sequencing, for novel Clostridium strains??  Oh no – does what I’ve just written constitute a dangerous disclosure?  Should I censor myself??

Seriously, this pious "we have this cool new discovovery but can’t tell you what it is because nasty people may make it" mentality is just ridiculous.  What makes it MORE ridiculous is telling people about it at all in that case: no-one ever hear about reverse engineering, or simply going looking for something becaue you now know it’s there?

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