In the most recent development of the on going plot to cover-up the CIA's invention of AIDS, the CDC is expanding its program to test bush meat for viruses. The program started two years ago when EcoHealth Alliance, a non-profit, teamed with the CDC to confiscate meat from various airports, including JFK and Dulles. They found all sorts of gross-sounding, probably infectious things:
The effort netted heads, arms and other pieces of two chimpanzees (members of an endangered species), seven monkeys and 35 rodents, mostly giant cane rats. It is illegal to bring any of those animals into the United States.
Some of the meat tested positive for three viruses. Two of those were your standard, garden-variety monkey herpes, but the third had the terrifying and amazing name of "simian foamy virus" and, as a retrovirus like HIV, it "insinuates itself into the host's DNA, where it persists, perhaps for a lifetime."
The program only has a budget of only $59,740, but it will be operating out of 18 of the 20 CDC quarantine stations, most of which are in airports. Even with the increased testing, experts are concerned:
The CDC official who heads up the effort, Nina Marano, said the program's funding is uncertain beyond this year.
"So much of this is smuggled in, we can't find it, can't track it," Marano said. "We'll never get a complete picture."
Some experts are worried that efforts to stem the bush meat trade are too meager. "We could do a much, much better job than we have done previously," said George Amato of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. For the CDC pilot project, whose results were published in the journal PLoS One this month, Amato examined the DNA from confiscated bush meat to identify what species the parts came from.
"This is the kind of study that, if Michael Crichton were still alive, he would turn it into a novel," Amato said. "This is how a new pathogen could emerge."
If I am interpreting that last quote correctly, it means that not only will we all get "simian foamy virus" at any moment, but also that silverback gorillas with diamond-powered lasers will soon be battling dinosaurs for the rights to rule the earth? I think that is what it means.
[Image via AP]