Viral Evolution: Is Ohio at Risk?

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This is a presentation I gave at Skepticamp Ohio 2009 on Virus Evolution. The goal was to give audience the scientific background to skeptically evaluate claims being made about the current Swine Flu …

This is a presentation I gave at Skepticamp Ohio 2009 on Virus Evolution. The goal was to give audience the scientific background to skeptically evaluate claims being made about the current Swine Flu Epidemic.

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  • You have no idea what I said during the presentation. The second half was a review of some of the more insane comments people have made about H1N1, and they were soundly refuted based on the evidence I presented. This was given at a skepticism and critical thinking conference.

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  • wow, ya know, at first this seemed very informational and then it turned into slippery slopes, false causes and major bias.... way to represent Kent State. yuck.
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  • 1. Epidemics & Viral Evolution Daniel Sprockett President Kent State Freethinkers www.MolecularFossils.com Skepticamp Ohio May 2, 2009 Is Ohio at risk?
  • 2. Outline
    • What are viruses?
    • How do viruses evolve?
    • Are we at risk?
  • 3. What are viruses?
    • Bacteria vs.Virus
    • Structure & “Life” Cycle
    • Are Viruses Alive?
  • 4. Bacterial Structure
  • 5. Viral Structure
  • 6. Viral Infection
  • 7. Viral Infection - Human
  • 8. Viruses can also infect:
    • Other Animals
    • Plants
    • Bacteria
    • Archaea
    • Even Viruses!
  • 9. Are Viruses Alive? David M. Hillis, Derrick Zwickl, and Robin Gutell, University of Texas.
  • 10. Are Viruses Alive?
  • 11. Outline
    • What are viruses?
    • How do viruses evolve?
    • Are we at risk?
  • 12. Viral Evolution
    • Genetic Diversification
      • High rates of reproduction (~15 mins)
      • Gene Swapping & Recombination (Antigenic Shift)
    • Natural Selection
      • Strong selection by immune system
  • 13. Viral Evolution
    • Marine Viruses
      • >50 Million viruses/ ml of sea water
      • 10 31 viruses in the ocean
      • If the average virus is 10 nm, then
        •  250 MILLION LIGHT YEARS of viruses!!
    • 60% of earth oxygen is produced by marine microbes
      • Viruses lyse ~ 20% every day!
  • 14. Viral Evolution
    • How many viruses are there?
      • 10 30 viruses in the ocean
      • If you consider a “new” virus to have 10% “new” genes
      • Then there are 10 11 new viruses being evolved every second!
  • 15. Outline
    • What are viruses?
    • How do viruses evolve?
    • Are we at risk?
  • 16. From CDC as of May 1 st , 11am 1 death 141 cases Total (19) 2 Virginia 1 28 Texas 16 South Carolina 1 Ohio 50 New York 5 New Jersey 1 Nevada 1 Nebraska 1 Minnesota 2 Michigan 2 Massachusetts 1 Kentucky 2 Kansas 3 Indiana 3 Illinois 4 Delaware 2 Colorado 13 California 4 Arizona Deaths Confirmed Cases State
  • 17. Other Epidemics
    • Asian Flu - 1957 - 1958
      • Influenza A virus strain of subtype H2N2
      • 1 – 1.5 million dead
    • Spanish Flu - 1918
      • Influenza A virus strain of subtype H1N1
      • 40- 100 million dead
    • Bubonic Plague – 1340’s
      • Yersinia pestis
      • 200 million dead
      • Killed 30%-60% of Europe’s Population
    • Swine Flu - 2009
      • Influenza A virus strain of subtype H1N1
      • 101 dead
      • 1.68 x 10 -8 % of the population
  • 18. How have things changed?
    • High levels of misinformation and low levels of education
    • Massive congregations during draft rallies, church revivals, and other events
    • No antibiotics available to treat secondary infections
    • No antiviral drugs (Tamiflu)
    • No vaccines
    • No steroid treatments or respirators to treat respiratory infections
  • 19. Are we at risk? Furthermore, as the infection spreads around the world, the search for an antidote is desperately sought, but the very fact that the virus is seen as something to be opposed actually supports the Biblical view of this world. It is always good and right to oppose sickness, but in evolutionary terms, why don’t humans simply resign themselves to it and allow the strong to survive? The evolutionary point of view would say the virus has a ‘right’ to live, so 'good luck' to it! From Ray Comfort:
  • 20. Are we at risk? Even worse, some people are actually trying to blame God for the pandemic, yet it was Man’s original sin which brought disease and sickness into a perfect world. We have no one but ourselves to blame. God offers a cure, but Man refuses it because it does not come on Man’s terms. From Ray Comfort:
  • 21. Are we at risk? The fact that living things, and viruses can mutate is part of their design. Change within a species gives organisms the ability to adapt if the environment changes, but mutations almost never adds new information to the DNA, and most mutations are harmful, and they usually subtract information. The trend is down, not up, which absolutely contradicts Darwin. From Ray Comfort:
  • 22.  
  • 23. Are we at risk?
    • Does hand washing really work?
    Effect of washing hands with soap on diarrhoea risk in the community: a systematic review. Curtis V, Cairncross S. (2003) -handwashing could reduce diarrhea risk by 47%. -potential number of diarrhea deaths that could be averted by handwashing at about a million (0.5 -1.4 million) Via BadAstronomy and Ben Goldacre
  • 24. The Swine Flu has human DNA!
  • 25. Antigenic Shift
  • 26. But it’s a PANDEMIC!
    • Epidemic – outbreak confined to multiple region
    • Pandemic – outbreak across multiple regions
        • The normal yearly flu is always a pandemic
  • 27. Swine Flu: A Liberal Conspiracy "I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out then under another Democrat president Jimmy Carter. And I'm not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it's an interesting coincidence." Michele Bachmann Minnesota (R)
  • 28.  
  • 29. Rational Advice
    • Symptoms of H1N1 flu closely resemble seasonal flu and include fever, weakness, coughing and lack of appetite. It is contagious. The best way to prevent H1N1 flu is to continue to follow infection control steps including:
      • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your elbow (not your hand) when you sneeze.
      • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth to prevent germs from spreading.
      • Wash your hands often with soap and water and use hand sanitizers.
      • Avoid being in close contact with those who are ill. If you are ill, please limit your exposure to others by staying home from work or school and avoid visiting the hospital.
    • H1N1 flu can be successfully treated with medication. If you think you might have the flu, please see your primary care doctor. He or she can test you for the flu and will be able to identify the strain of the flu you may have.
    Don’t PANIC!
  • 30. Questions?
    • Personal Blog
      • www.MolecularFossils.com
    • Kent State Freethinkers
      • www.freewebs.com/KentStateFreethinkers