numerous laboratory accidents, increasingly dangerous experiments

1977 A global flu epidemic kills 700,000. The virus responsible, identical to a strain that had not circulated for fifteen years, obviously came from a laboratory.

2001 A series of anthrax (anthrax) attacks in the United States kills five people and infects seventeen. The alleged perpetrator, Bruce Ivins, who committed suicide during the investigation, was a scientist at the government biosafety laboratory in Fort Detrick, Maryland.

2004 The SARS virus escaped twice from a high-security laboratory in China (the Chinese Institute of Virology in Beijing), infecting two scientists and six other people, one of whom lost his life. Its low contagiousness prevents these leaks from becoming a pandemic.

2005 American researchers reconstruct the original virus of the 1918 Spanish flu, the deadliest in history, from a corpse exhumed from the permafrost.

2007 An outbreak of bovine foot-and-mouth disease is caused by a leak, via liquid effluent, at the high security (P4) laboratory at the Institute for Animal Health, Pirbright, UK.

2012 Two teams, in the United States and the Netherlands, announce that they have made contagious in ferrets, therefore possibly in humans, a particularly lethal influenza virus, causing an outcry. A moratorium of a few months follows.

2014 The Pasteur Institute misplaces 2,349 tubes containing SARS. The institute says the samples in question were probably destroyed, and the independent experts seized believe they had “zero infectious potential”.

2013 to 2015 A series of several hundred incidents in US government high security laboratories are revealed by the press (shipments of non-inactivated samples, deadly flu labeled as seasonal flu, infected animals which escape, etc.). There were no casualties, but the pathogens involved include deadly flus, Ebola virus and anthrax.

2014 to 2017 The American Institutes of Health (NIH) imposes a moratorium on funding research involving gain-of-function experiments, while new regulations are defined. This, criticized for its ambiguity, should be revised before the end of 2022.

2015 Having obtained an exemption from the NIH moratorium, Ralph Baric (University of North Carolina) creates with his team a chimera between SARS-CoV-1 and a bat coronavirus provided by the Wuhan Institute of Virology. He manages to infect human respiratory cells with this virus, causing protests.

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