Monday, April 16, 2012


Scientists have created an H5N1 avian influenza strain that has been genetically altered and is now easily transmissible between ferrets, the animals that most closely mimic the human response to flu. Flu researchers believe it's likely that the pathogen, if it emerged in nature or were released, would trigger an influenza pandemic, quite possibly with many millions of deaths. The virus's creators say the research, which has been submitted for publication, promises major public health benefits. Knowing exactly what makes H5N1 a virus with pandemic potential is useful because scientists can look out for such
 changes in the wild and prepare countermeasures. But the work is the subject of a heated debate among scientists, biosecurity experts, and U.S. government officials. When these laboratories submitted their work for publication, the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) asked the authors to remove critical details from the manuscripts to ensure that they cannot be used by bioterrorists. This act by NSABB has created a debate among Scientific community. To read more follow the links below:

Laboratory Creation of a Highly Transmissible H5N1 Influenza Virus: Balancing Substantial Risks and Real BenefitsANN INTERN MED 20 March 2012: 463-465. Abstract

Ferret-Transmissible Influenza A(H5N1) Virus: Let Us Err on the Side of CautionmBio 6 March 2012: e00037-12. Full Text

Science Should Be in the Public DomainmBio 31 January 2012: e00004-12. Abstract

Mammalian-Transmissible H5N1 Influenza: the Dilemma of Dual-Use ResearchmBio 31 January 2012: e00005-12. Abstract

Enserink M . 2011. Infectious diseases. Controversial studies give a deadly flu virus wings. Science 334:1192–1193. Abstract/FREE Full Text

McNeil DG Jr., Grady D . 2 January 2012. How hard would it be for avian flu to spread? New York Times, New York, NY.

Print This Post


Post a Comment