Scientists Make Killer Flu Virus Even Deadlier
Posted on Dec 27, 2011
More than half of the people infected with H5N1—the bird flu virus—are dead, so it’s a damned good thing the virus isn’t airborne. That is, until now. U.S.-funded researchers in the Netherlands have successfully engineered a viral H5N1 strain that can spread through the air, realizing fears of a potentially weaponized germ that infects easily and kills half its victims. —PZS
The New York Times:
The discovery has led advisers to the United States government, which paid for the research, to urge that the details be kept secret and not published in scientific journals to prevent the work from being replicated by terrorists, hostile governments or rogue scientists.
Journal editors are taking the recommendation seriously, even though they normally resist any form of censorship. Scientists, too, usually insist on their freedom to share information, but fears of terrorism have led some to say this information is too dangerous to share.
Some biosecurity experts have even said that no scientist should have been allowed to create such a deadly germ in the first place, and they warn that not just the blueprints but the virus itself could somehow leak or be stolen from the laboratory.
Centers for Disease Control