What is Avian influenza?
Avian influenza is flu infection in birds. The virus that causes the bird infectin can change (mutate) to infect humans. Such mutation could start a deadly worldwide epidemic.
Thanks again for our great scientist who had create another new virus strain instead of curing one,my question to the people out there is HOW LONG ARE WE SAFE? Because it escapes or gets into the hands of bioterrorists, it has the potential to become a pandemic and kill millions around the world.
But this isn't the latest summer blockbuster. According to New Scientist magazine, researchers in the Netherlands studying H5N1 -- commonly referred to as the bird flu or avian influenza -- have created a strain of the virus that's easily passed between mammals, and it's just as lethal as the original virus.
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the H5N1 virus has infected more than 500 people in more than a dozen countries and is known to kill around 60 percent of those that become infected.
Ron Fouchier, a researcher at the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, led the team that successfully created the mutation. Fouchier presented the findings at a conference in Malta in September and, according to NPR, is now seeking publication of his results.
But some in the scientific community are debating whether or not that's a good idea.
"It's just a bad idea for scientists to turn a lethal virus into a lethal and highly contagious virus. And it's a second bad idea for them to publish how they did it so others can copy it," Dr. Thomas Inglesby, the director and CEO of the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh, told NPR.