Swine Flu Came From Lab: Researcher
WHO investigates claim that H1N1 arose from human error
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2009 4:22 AM CDT
This 2009 image taken through a microscope and provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, shows the H1N1 strain of the swine flu virus.   (AP Photo/Center for Disease Control and Prevention, C. S. Goldsmith and A. Balish)
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(Newser) – The World Health Organization is investigating a claim by an Australian researcher that the swine flu virus may have been created in a laboratory as a result of human error. Adrian Gibbs, who helped develop Tamiflu, said in an interview with Bloomberg that the new strain may have evolved in eggs that drug makers use to make vaccines. "One of the simplest explanations is that it’s a laboratory escape," he said.

Gibbs came to suspect human error behind swine flu after analyzing the genetic blueprint of the H1N1 strain. The rate of genetic mutation in the new virus was about three times faster than similar viruses in pigs, which suggests it evolved outside of swine populations, he said. CDC officials in Atlanta said there was no evidence to support Gibbs' claim.