Monday, November 21, 2011


It is said that H5N1 bird flu virus has killed about 500 people and outbreaks have sparked fear around the world about the possibility of a global pandemic. Lucky for us the virus has not been contagious enough to pose much of a threat. The simple truth is that its hard for sick people to pass it to healthy people.

However new bird flu research that shows that the dangerous virus can mutate to become easily transmissible among ferrets and perhaps humans has embroiled the scientific community in a difficult debate.

Some biosecurity experts are concerned the research could be used as a blueprint by nefarious forces and are arguing against publication of the work.

But others, especially influenza scientists, are countering that the flu world needs to know the possible paths the H5N1 virus could take to become one that can spread easily among people so laboratories can be on the lookout for those changes in nature.

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