The World Health Organization is working to debunk rumors started by an Australian virologist.
"The virus rumor was started by Adrian J. Gibbs, a retired plant virologist from the Australian National University, who previously published work in the journal Science questioning the idea, now accepted, that the 1918 pandemic started as a bird flu.
Dr. Gibbs, who had studied the gene sequences of the swine flu virus posted on public data banks, argued that it must have been grown in eggs, the medium used in vaccine laboratories. He reached that conclusion, he said, because the new virus was not closely related to known ones and because it had more of the amino acid lysine and more mutations than typical strains of swine flu.
His theory was reported by Bloomberg News on Tuesday. Even though scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were skeptical and some prominent virologists openly derisive, news outlets have repeated and magnified the theory, adding speculation about bioterrorism that even Dr. Gibbs repudiated. He was also interviewed Thursday on the ABC News program “Good Morning America.”