SARS Virus First
Discoverd In 1998

By Ian Gurney
Author of 'The Cassandra Prophecy'

ProMED, the International Society for Infectious Diseases yesterday reported that the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) microbe has been identified as a virus in the Paramyxoviridae family. Professor John Tam of the Department of Microbiology at the Chinese University, said the virus was detected by electron microscopy. Asked if the virus was curable, Tam said they still needed to monitor individual patients before they could conclude that the virus was curable. SARS is an atypical pneumonia that rapidly attacks lung tissue and first showed up, according to most reports, in February 2003 when 305 people became ill in Guangdong Province, China.
However, further research shows that this is not absolutely true, as it appears the Paramyxoviridae virus which could infect humans was originally discovered some five years ago. It also throws up a strange coincidence that has linkages with the "unusual" death of a prominent microbiologist.
In December 2001 I published an article entitled The Very Mysterious Deaths Of Five Microbiologists ( One of the deaths involved a skilled microbiologist named Set Van Nguyen. On December 14th, Van Nguyen was killed at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation's animal diseases facility in Geelong, Australia. The microbiologist had worked for 15 years at the facility. Victoria Police said: "Set Van Nguyen, 44, appeared to have died after entering an airlock into a storage laboratory filled with nitrogen. His body was found when his wife became worried after he failed to return from work. He was killed after entering a low temperature storage area where biological samples were kept. He did not know the room was full of deadly gas which had leaked from a liquid nitrogen cooling system. Unable to breathe, Mr. Nguyen collapsed and died."
Van Nguyen's death was one of possibly twenty one fatalities involving microbiologists in a five month period between the end of 2001 and the beginning of 2002, including the death of Dr. Steven Mostow, nicknamed Dr. Flu, in an air crash in March 2002.
So what's the connection, if indeed there is one, and what has this to do with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, only yesterday identified as a virus in the Paramyxoviridae family? Well, try this for starters.
In Australia at the beginning of 1998, a group of microbiologists announced the discovery of a new virus, a member of the Paramyxoviridae family of viruses, which could be passed from animals to humans. In their report ( the microbiologists said: "Viruses in the family Paramyxoviridae have been associated with new diseases in a variety of species, including humans, throughout the world. We have isolated an apparently new virus in the family Paramyxoviridae from stillborn piglets with abnormalities of the brain, spinal cord, and skeleton at a commercial piggery with 2,600 sows in New South Wales, Australia. Serologic studies indicate that at least two humans exposed to affected pigs have been infected with the virus, possibly with resultant illness, and that fruit bats are a potential source of infection. A large breeding colony of gray-headed fruit bats (Pteropus poliocephalus), as well as little red fruit bats (P. scapulatus), roosts within 200 metres of the affected piggery from October to April."
So, it seems that a virus of the Paramyxoviridae family that could infect humans was discovered over five years ago, but where's the coincidence in all this. Well, the microbiologists that first reported the discovery of the virus in 1998 where Peter W. Daniels, Allan R. Gould, and Alex D. Hyatt. All of them worked for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation's animal diseases facility in Geelong, Australia. That's the same place where Set Van Nguyen died, and the same organisation where, as the journal Nature announced in January 2002:
"Australian scientists, Dr Ron Jackson and Dr Ian Ramshaw, accidentally created an astonishingly virulent strain of mousepox, a cousin of smallpox, among laboratory mice. They realised that if similar genetic manipulation was carried out on smallpox, an unstoppable killer could be unleashed."
©Copyright Ian Gurney 2003. This article can be reproduced or redistributed when the following is included: Ian Gurney is the author of "The Cassandra Prophecy-Armageddon Approaches" (
Ian Gurney welcomes your comments at:
From Patricia Doyle, PhD
Hello Ian - I had written about the emerging/mutating paramyxoviruses a year or so ago. I think that this is something with which the medical/scientific community should be concerned. Paramyxoviruses infect everything from plants, to snakes to animals to humans.
The newest memebers of the group are Hendra, (infects horses,) Nipah virus and now a NipahLIKE (measles encephalitis) Virus then in 2000, we learned of Tioman. Like Nipah, Tioman is also vectored by fruitbats.
There is also a parapneumonia virus which, I believe this latest outbreak may be some sort of sibling to. Metapneumona virus and many others appear to be emerging. When a newly discovered virus like Nipah, mutates it is time for worry. Nipah was first discovered in 1999 in Malaysia where it killed one hundered people and caused the destruction of thousands of pigs. When a new virus like Nipah mutates a few years later, it tells me that it is very unstable.
The good news is that I believe this A-typical pneumonia virus is not as virulent as the flu. It appears that it spreads via noscomial contact such as we see doctor-to-patient. It also spreads in families. It does not seem to be very airborne.
I hope and pray that the outbreak will be controlled soon. I had been concerned that the outbreak was a revival of the Spanish 1918 flu. As you may know, there were a couple of expeditions to exhume tissue containing live H1N1 Spanish Flu virus. I know that the expedition to Alaska was successful and did bring back live virus (albeit I do not know the condition of the virus i.e. if it would still infect.)
I was very much against such an expedition. I have been researching Chinese research and have been unable to find any expedition to retreve live Spanish Flu virus. So, that is some good news.
I do think that the news stories regrding this outbreak is missing the point. I feel that they are concentrating on the outbreak and missing the point about the emerging and mutating of so many paramyxoviruses. There was even a mutation of measles and, also mumps virus over the past two years. One must ask WHY? Will paramyxoviruses mutate into a virulent strain that would cause a pandemic? Will they mutate so deadly as to kill 70% of the infected, as we see with Ebola? My concern is WHY are paramyxoviruses emerging and mutating? They, unlike other viral families, infected the widest range of life on earth, i.e. plants to animals, snakes, humans etc etc.
I will post your article. BTW that was a very interesting addition re the microbiologists and Dr. Nguyen's CSIRO lab. Excellent.
Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
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