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History’s last recorded fatality from smallpox, British woman Janet Parker, was killed to a lab screw-up. In 1978 a Birmingham University lab was studying some particularly deadly strains of smallpox when one of these strains accidentally infected Parker, who worked there as a photographer.
Incidentally, the most famous instance of a disease outbreak caused by a lab escape occurred right around the same time. In 1977, a relatively mild flu emerged in China and the Soviet Union largely targeting children. When researchers took a look at it, they realized the virus was basically a 50s-era flu strain that had apparently not evolved in the interim two decades. So, their best explanation was that this was a kind of viral Austin Powers that had spent 20 years in a freezer.
Hey, speaking of lab security, did you know that Canada’s own National Microbiology Lab, a facility where they work on super-dangerous viruses like Ebola recently had a security breach serious enough to warrant an RCMP investigation?
Now, we may never find out the truth because, well … China. Remember when Australia called for an international inquiry into COVID-19’s origins? Seems like a pretty reasonable thing to ask for, but China absolutely flipped out and imposed immediate sanctions on Australian beef and barley exports. And, oh look, here’s Chinese state media trumpeting the claim that the virus actually came from a US biological weapons lab in Maryland.
This is a country that is busy building a network of 21st century gulags in its northwest, so it’s a fair bet that if one of their virology labs accidentally demolished the world economy, that’s something they will work very, very hard to cover up.
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