Published in the paper under the headline,"Is swine flu man-made?"
Online article:Australian experts say swine flu a laboratory error
THREE Australian experts are making waves in the medical community with a report suggesting swine flu might have developed because of a laboratory error in the process of making a vaccine.
"It could have happened in a lab where somebody became affected and then travelled with it," virologist Dr Adrian Gibbs told The Courier-Mail yesterday.
"Things do get out of labs and this has to be explored.
"There needs to be more research done in this area. At the moment there is no way of distinguishing where swine flu has come from."
Pictures: Swine flu outbreakThe report, published in the Virology Journal on Tuesday, was compiled by two former researchers at the Australian National University, including Gibbs and programmer John S. Armstrong.
Dr Jean Downie, once the head of HIV research at the Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research at Westmead Hospital, was also involved.
The article says the swine-origin influenza A (H1N1) virus that appeared in Mexico in April has at least three parent genes which originated in North America, Europe and Asia.
"The three parents of the virus may have been assembled in one place by natural means, such as by migrating birds, however the consistent link with pig viruses suggests that human activity was involved," the research found.
Their report said that if the virus was generated by laboratory activity, it would explain why it had "escaped surveillance for over a decade and how viruses last sampled in North America, Europe and Asia became assembled in one place and generated a reassortant."
Dr Gibbs said it was not the first time in history that laboratory errors had been made, with evidence foot and mouth disease in England had been born out of a lab mistake and circumstantial evidence that Spanish influenza in 1918 and Asian influenza in 1957 re-appeared decades later because of lab mistakes with vaccines.http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,26409736-953,00.html