If you know me, you know I’m rarely speechless. But this one shut even me up…for about 30 seconds.
…On a farm in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, there lives a herd of 50 cows that have been genetically manipulated to be part human.
Yes…you read that right. Scientists have created a human-cow hybrid.
These cows have been vaccinated against several deadly diseases, including Ebola. And they are producing “very high levels” of human antibodies.
The plan is to take gallons and gallons of blood from these part cow, part human creatures to develop drugs that will be given to people.
Yes, you read that right, too.
And it gets worse…
Silly me. I was worried about the fox outside the henhouse…
The company that successfully mixed the human and bovine DNA has partnered with the USAMRIID – that’s the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.
This is the same government research facility where anthrax spores somehow “escaped” out of a lab and 62 deadly virus samples (including Ebola, hantavirus and the monkey version of AIDS) went missing for over 10 years.
We’re told that the USAMRID team that will be handling the blood, and whatever else they take from these “cows,” has previously worked in a “level 4 biosafety lab.”
I told you that in case you were worried that something might go wrong here…
…and I never hope to see one
Somehow the Sci-Fi channel has become reality.
You may be wondering, as I am, if this is even legal. And what I can tell you from the research I’ve done is that it’s very murky territory.
We’ve been dabbling in cloning and genetically modifying mammals for some time now. Back 13 years ago, several calves were born that had been cloned using two human genes. The calves came from an enterprise in Iowa said to be “one of the nation’s top cow-cloning companies.” (Yes, there’s a cow-cloning company, and apparently more than one.)
But those calves didn’t “work” as well as expected. The cow genes apparently trumped the human ones.
At the time, Joseph Mendelson III, of the Center for Food Safety, said that at “some point we’re going to start blurring the lines between species.”
And it looks like that’s what happening now in South Dakota. On purpose.
As I said, these new cows are producing huge amounts of human antibodies – not cow antibodies as happened the other time. These creatures have “fully human immune systems.”
So obviously, the experiment has turned into a reality.
The company that created these cows, SAb Biotherapeutics, told NBC news that it hopes to collect up to 60 liters of plasma every month. Something that could be turned into 1,000 doses of “human” medicine from each animal.
Now, I could go on and on with questions on the safety – and ethics – of all this. But for starters, what about the risk of animal diseases being given to humans. Things like mad cow disease?
What about the fact that despite how intelligent we think we are, we really don’t know beans about what might happen once we start taking gallons of blood from these half-human cows and turning it into drugs.
And what should happen if somehow, one of these cows should go missing and end up being slaughtered for human food?
I don’t even want to think about the possibilities!
Once the blood taken from the cows in this Ebola farm in South Dakota starts to be used by Big Pharma, we will have no idea what drugs or vaccines its components may turn up in. Since they don’t have to disclose their ingredients, every single medication you take could be potentially contaminated.
We can’t put our health – and perhaps even survival – in the hands of this South Dakota biotech company. And we certainly can’t rely on the government, especially the FDA or the USDA, to make sure things aren’t spiraling out of control to a point of no return.
To contact members of the Senate and tell them that new regulations are needed to put the cow back into the barn – and that you don’t want one dime of your tax dollars spent creating these half human hybrids, click here.
And click here for a list of House members, including ways to contact them.
“Genetically modified cattle with human DNA might hold Ebola cure” Maggie Fox, January 19, 2015, NBC News, nbcnews.com