When labs create “super viruses”

DECRYPTION –The Covid-19 pandemic has brought risky “job gain” experiences to the fore.

The story begins in 2011. A time when Sars-CoV-2 does not exist, and where the idea of ​​a pandemic paralyzing the planet belongs to science fiction accounts more than to press clippings. Bird flu breaks out, with an extremely pathogenic virus that kills 50% of the people it infects. Luckily, if a few poultry farmers infected with their animals get sick, human-to-human transmission does not exist. And for good reason: the virus lacks the characteristics necessary to properly “hang” human cells and multiply in the body. We dare not imagine what this pandemic would have given if the virus had ended up acquiring such capacities …

Because viruses, like all living things, evolve. Once in the body, they replicate and with each copy can appear in their genetic heritage of small errors called mutations. “Most are inconsequential, explains Étienne Simon Lorière, virologist at the Institut

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