Henry I. Miller M.D.
Henry I. Miller M.D.
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review
 

Latest Articles

Obtaining Dangerous Pathogens Is Too Easy
Governments and the private sector must cooperate to prevent bioterrorism

June 17, 2024  •  DC Journal (Inside Sources)

It should be virtually impossible for malicious actors to obtain the synthetic DNA needed to recreate a virus like the one that caused the devastating 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. However, a fascinating — and terrifying — real-world experiment by an MIT professor and two of his students found that it is "surprisingly easy, even when ordering gene fragments from companies that check customers' orders to detect hazardous sequences."

The MIT experiment, conducted by two graduate students of Professor Kevin Esvelt under the supervision of the FBI, reveals the vulnerability of the current system.

Some background is necessary.

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How Anti-Vaccine Kooks And Quacks Lie To You
Rampant anti-vaccine disinformation, largely driven by politicians, grifters, and "influencers" on television and social media, undermines public confidence in vaccination.

June 11, 2024  •  American Council on Science & Health

There have been at least 10 outbreaks of measles across twenty states already this year, an alarming and dramatic surge. What a contrast to 2000, when health officials boasted that the United States had officially "eliminated" the disease with so few known cases. How? A highly effective vaccination program created herd immunity, which prevented the virus from finding susceptible individuals.

According to the CDC, the number of reported infections has increased almost 17-fold above the average over the same period in each of the past four years. That surge has resulted in the hospitalization of about half of those infected, predominantly children.

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The Escalating Arms Race Between Viruses And Humans: Why A 'Universal' Coronavirus Vaccine Is So Critical
We need government-funded basic science in universities and the collaboration of drug companies experienced in vaccine research

June 4, 2024  •  Genetic Literacy Project

The arrival of the next pandemic is a matter of when, not if.

"COVID-19 was the third major and serious coronavirus epidemic or pandemic following SARS in 2002 and MERS in 2012," said researcher Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of Baylor College's National School of Tropical Medicine and co-director of the Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development. "We should anticipate a fourth coronavirus outbreak within the next decade or so."

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We Risk A Pandemic If We Don't Do More to Monitor the Spread of H5N1 Avian Flu
Wastewater surveillance is a vital tool in pandemic preparedness. It should be both expanded and more narrowly focused.

June 4, 2024  •  American Council on Science & Health

Since the beginning of the year, the highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu strain that previously had killed tens of millions of birds and a few species of mammals has been reported in goats and at least 68 herds of dairy cows in nine states.

But the outbreak is more problematic than that: On May 24, the US Department of Agriculture announced that bird flu was detected in the meat of an infected dairy cow. Officials said that "viral particles of H5N1 were detected during testing of various tissues, including samples from the diaphragm muscle, which sits below the lungs." They warned against a panic, however, saying the virus would be killed if meat from cattle was cooked.

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Let's Make the Next Biotech Revolution an American One
We need to invest aggressively and regulate intelligently

May 31, 2024  •  DC Journal (Inside Sources)

Eric Schmidt, a commissioner on the National Security Commission on Emerging Biotechnology and formerly the CEO and chairman of Google, wrote recently that "the next big game-changing revolution is in biology." He cited some milestones that were reached last year: "the U.S. approved the production and sale of lab-grown meat for the first time; Google DeepMind's AI predicted structures of over 2 million new materials, which can potentially be used for chips and batteries; Casgevy became the first approved commercial gene-editing treatment using CRISPR."

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