Re: [Fwd: Bubonic Plague]

From: Extropian Agro Forestry Ventures Inc. (
Date: Thu Oct 04 2001 - 10:39:05 MDT

Those wishing to kill large numbers would want to use not quick to sicken and
kill but slow to sicken organisms. That way days or weeks of infection can
occur before the need for treatment becomes obvious.

Like when paraquat symptoms show up most of the damage is already done.

Mushroom toxin can take out livers a week or more after exposure.

AIDS can be latent for months and only when immune system damage is well
underway would any alarm be sounded.... far too late to save most people
especially if the numbers exposed are hundreds of thousands or millions.

If there is any upside to all of this at all it would be that the military
would undertake massive R&D into molecular genetics and although the cost
might be higher than if done in the private sector like the past military
derived technologies... such as ARPA net which matured into the internet
there might be good to come out of all this imminent bio-terrorism???

"Extropian Agro Forestry Ventures Inc." wrote:

> If memory serves correct mushroom fungus is similarly able to "evolve"
> rapidly.
> Take one of the deadly mushroom species such as aminita or death camas
> and find a growth medium which cultures both mushrooms and bubonic plague
> add some simple cell fusion chems , ..... the possibilities are endless.
> "Michael M. Butler" wrote:
> > Hoo boy. Not sure where this is from, but interesting if true.
> >
> > Bubonic plague genome is "unusually fluid"
> >
> > 19:00 03 October 01
> > Debora MacKenzie
> >
> > Bubonic plague, the bacterium blamed for the Black Death of medieval
> > Europe and now a potential biological weapon, has had its entire
> > genome sequenced. The genes seem to be "unusually fluid", readily
> > re-arranging themselves and picking up new genes from other microbes.
> >
> > That could mean that more virulent strains of plague might emerge.
> > More ominously, it suggests that enhanced strains might be relatively
> > easy to develop as weapons.
> >
> > The bacillus that causes bubonic plague, Yersinia pestis, commonly
> > infects rodents in Asia, Africa and the Americas. But it occasionally
> > spreads to humans, with lethal effect.
> >
> > It does so by infecting both insects and mammals. Fleas that feed on
> > infected rodents swallow the bacteria, which infect and block their
> > midguts. The starving fleas feed voraciously, but only regurgitate
> > the blood they try to swallow - along with the bacteria. So plague
> > spreads among rodents, often causing only mild disease.
> >
> > If the infected flea bites a human, however, up to half the victims
> > die, unless treated with antibiotics. If the bacteria invade the
> > lungs of such patients, and they cough them out, nearby people may
> > catch "pneumonic" plague. This is always fatal without treatment.
> >
> > Pneumonic plague is the form feared as a potential biological weapon,
> > as it can be released as an aerosol and can spread directly among
> > humans, without the intervention of fleas. The Soviet Union developed
> > such a plague weapon.
> >
> > "Pathogenicity islands"
> >
> > The gene sequence of Yersinia pestis, produced by Julian Parkhill of
> > the Sanger Centre in Cambridge, UK and colleagues, shows how the
> > bacillus learned to infect both insects and mammals.
> >
> > It picked up genes directly from baculoviruses that infect insects,
> > including one for a toxin that damages the midgut. It also acquired
> > "pathogenicity islands", assemblages of genes from other bacteria
> > that help cause human disease.
> >
> > The sequence also reveals novel surface molecules, which might
> > provide new ways to attack plague. But "this genome displays unusual
> > fluidity," comment Stewart Cole and Carmen Buchreiser in Nature,
> > where the genome is published. Numerous Yersinia genes have been
> > copied backwards and have swapped positions within the genome,
> > sometimes creating different variants in the same population.
> >
> > These recombinations could mean differences in virulence in a single
> > batch of plague, they note. That could also mean that the bacteria -
> > or bioweapons developers - have the genes at their disposal for new
> > and potentially nastier strains of disease.
> > a

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