Dutch Scientists Monkey With the Bird Flu Virus
Posted on Nov 30, 2011
In what may turn out to be a really bad idea, Dutch scientists have created a strain of the bird flu virus that maintains its 60 percent kill rate and is easily transferred between mammals, and they’re looking to tell the world how they did it.
Partly paradoxically, some scientists cite public health concerns as the reason such research is necessary. Flu viruses do mutate, and developing vaccines for lethal and highly contagious strains would be a benefit to public safety, provided scientists can do so before they escape the laboratory or fall into the wrong hands. —ARK
The Huffington Post:
According to New Scientist magazine, researchers in the Netherlands studying H5N1—commonly referred to as the bird flu or avian influenza—have created a strain of the virus that’s easily passed between mammals, and it’s just as lethal as the original virus.
... Ron Fouchier, a researcher at the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, led the team that successfully created the mutation. Fouchier presented the findings at a conference in Malta in September and, according to NPR, is now seeking publication of his results.
Ella Mullins (CC-BY)
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the H5N1 virus—known as the bird flu—has infected more than 500 people in more than a dozen countries.