Source: LA Times
“Engineered Doomsday.” “Mutant Bird Flu.” These may sound like the names of disaster movies, but they are headlines on recent news reports about experiments involving the H5N1 influenza virus.
The H5N1 virus is known as a “bird flu” because it mainly affects birds, which also can transmit it to humans. But last year, two teams of scientists reported that the virus could be made to spread easily from ferret to ferret — an animal that has long been used as a stand-in for people in influenza research. An H5N1 virus that could pass easily from person to person would be entirely new, and more dangerous.
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