Maelstrom in scientific media prompts concernwith precipitous release of bird flu research Despite warnings from many medical and scientific groups, “New Scientist” recently published the article, “Five easy mutations to make bird flu a lethal pandemic.”
Two different research groups have engineered the H5N1 virus which is highly communicable between ferrets (the most reliable animal surrogate for human flu). Should this avian virus “get loose,” it would probably kill 20 percent of the world’s population.
Medical and scientific groups had lobbied to withhold precise details on the experimental work, but sadly, these cautions were not heeded.
Hopefully the same global restraint that has prevented post-WWII use of nuclear weapons will prevail with regard to this new discovery.