Recipe for Destruction

October 17, 2005 | Source: New York Times

The U.S. government’s decision to publish the full genome of the 1918 influenza virus on the Internet in the GenBank database was “extremely foolish,” say Ray Kurzweil and Bill Joy.

“The genome is essentially the design of a weapon of mass destruction. No responsible scientist would advocate publishing precise designs for an atomic bomb.”

Revealing the sequence for the flu virus is even more dangerous because it would be easier to create and release this highly destructive virus from the genetic data and release of the virus would be far worse than an atomic bomb (hundreds of millions killed vs. millions), they state.

The authors recommend international agreements by scientific organizations to limit such publications and an international dialogue on the best approach to preventing recipes for weapons of mass destruction from falling into the wrong hands. They also call for “a new Manhattan Project to develop specific defenses against new biological viral threats, natural or human made.”