Researchers at John Hopkins University have shown, via simulation, what would happen should a new type of parainfluenza- known as Clade X- spread. While the simulation was designed “so the pathogen wasn’t markedly more dangerous than real illnesses such as SARS” 1, it shows nonetheless just how easily a new pathogen could wipe out up to 900 million people.

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“American politicians played out the scenario – which was built to be extremely realistic – where a doomsday cult released a genetically engineered virus. By the end of the simulation in May, representing 20 months after the start of the outbreak, there were 150 million dead around the world – and no vaccine. The researchers say that the simulation would have ended with up to 900 million dead, nearly 10% of the world’s population.”2

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Clade X Pandemic Exercise: Segment 1

(Segment 1 of 4) Clade X is a day-long pandemic tabletop exercise hosted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security on May 15, 2018, in Washington, DC. The exercise simulates a series of National Security Council-convened meetings of 10 US government leaders, played by individuals prominent in the fields of national security or epidemic response.

(Clade X was designed to spread about as easily and kill a similar percentage as SARS.)

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Earlier in the year, a report by American scientists warned that simple modifications to known bacteria could create diseases which were immune to the antibiotics were currently have and “more complex ‘tweaks’ to microbes could lead to bacteria which would live in people’s guts”3 and produce poison. It seems the government needs to focus more of their attention on bioweapons, as man-made synthetic diseases pose a threat to humanity that could wipe out tens of millions.

Sources and References

  1. Metro UK, July 30, 2018.
  2. Metro UK, July 30, 2018.
  3. Metro UK, July 30, 2018.