Remember the sci-fi thriller GATTACA? For those who never saw the film and/or eschewed all pop culture in the late 90’s for some reason, it was a popular movie that came out in 1997 about genetically modified human beings. Now some literally genetically modified human babies born that same year are entering their senior year of high school.
The first successful transfer of genetic material for this purpose was published in a U.S. medical journal in 1997 and then later cited in a Human Reproduction publication in 2001. Scientists injected 30 embryos in all with a third person’s genetic material. The children who have been produced by this method actually have extra snippets of mitochondrial DNA, or mtDNA, from two mothers – meaning these babies technically have three parents.
It’s still unclear whether all 30 babies turned out healthy. The Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science (IRMS) at St Barnabas, participants of the experiment, finally began following up with at least 17 of the now teenagers earlier this year, according to the UK’s Independent. We’ve reached out to IRMS to get those follow up results but have not heard back yet.
While we don’t know the identity of these genetically modified teens, or even how they are doing health wise at this point, the ethics of creating designer humans is still very much a hot button issue. Modifying humans genetically to create some superior race of people or simply to chose one preferred visual trait over another has been debated among scientists, politicians and others ad nauseam. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration no longer even allows such genetic modification to embryos, citing them as a “biological product” and thus under its jurisdiction. They put the kibosh on this practice back in 2002. However, these original embryonic modifications were for parents who would potentially pass on severe genetic diseases to their children if it weren’t for scientific intervention.
These teens could potentially pass on their genetically modified material to the next generation. So even if no other humans are legally able to be created this way in the future, we’ve already introduced biologically modified genetic material into the population with the potential to affect large swaths of future generations to come via reproduction. We’ll be sure to update you, should IRMS release the results of the health of these teens.
Enterovirus D68, the respiratory illness suspected of hospitalizing hundreds of children in the nation, has now spread to the Northeast and is likely to hit the whole country.
Connecticut and New York are the latest states to report cases of the rapidly spreading virus that has targeted young children, especially those withasthma, in 21 states.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health received reports "from two hospitals in different parts of the state of clusters of severe respiratory illness among young children that could be due to enterovirus D68," the agency said in a statement.
Connecticut is working with the Centers for Disease Control to confirm the cases.
The New York State Department of Health has also confirmed more than a dozen cases of enterovirus D68 in children living in the state's capital and central regions, officials said.
The CDC has not confirmed New York's cases.
Enterovirus Likely to Spread Through Schools, Experts Say
What You Need to Know About the Enterovirus Outbreak
Unidentified Respiratory Virus Likely to Hit Kids Across Country
As of Saturday, enterovirus D68 had spread to 21 states across the Midwest and East Coast, with confirmed cases spanning from New Mexico to Montana to Delaware.
The virus is likely to spread across the country, ABC News' Dr. Richard Besser said Sunday morning.
"It's very hard for a virus to be limited by borders," Besser said. "I expect that it's going to hit the whole country."
Enterovirus D68 comes from a family of enteroviruses that can cause cold-like symptoms, typically during the month of September.
Besser warned parents to watch out for symptoms of coughs and wheezing among their children, especially if their children are asthmatic.
"The best approach for prevention is what we talk about all the time for respiratory infections, colds, and flus and that's really good hand washing," Besser said.
There have been no reported cases of adults contracting the virus.
Adults may already have built an immunity towards the virus from previous infections, or may just get a milder version of the disease, Besser said.
Children who contract enterovirus D68 first suffer from what appears to be a common cold, with symptoms including a runny nose, coughing, and sneezing, according to Besser.
The symptoms then escalate to difficulty breathing. Besser said parents should look out for their children exhibiting signs of wheezing, difficulty eating or speaking, and blueness around the lips.
Doctors have found a way to treat the symptoms, helping kids breath more easily so they can get through the virus, Besser said.
"It's the same medicine that's used for children who have asthma," he said. "But when I was in the emergency room this week in St. Louis, they were giving it to children who didn't have asthma, and you could just see them turn around. Their airways would open up -- some of them could leave the emergency room. Some had to stay, but the medicine helps a lot."
We are already in Tribulation. Time to give your life to The Most High through Christ Yahusha (AKA Jesus)!
|Daughters of Tsiyon||