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Old 02-10-2013, 07:51 PM   #1
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Default Mutant virus sparks bioethics debate

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Old 02-10-2013, 08:36 PM   #2
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Fouchier took an H5N1 virus and tweaked its genes to make it more receptive to mammals. He then “passaged” the virus back and forth between ferrets, an animal that mimics how flu viruses transmit in humans. After 10 rounds, the virus was airborne.

The journal Science was reviewing Fouchier’s study for publication. Concurrently, another scientist — Dr. Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a virologist with the University of Wisconsin-Madison — had submitted a paper to another journal, Nature, also involving an H5N1 strain that had been modified to become air transmissible.

Alarm bells rang. Could bioterrorists, or hostile states, use the studies to genetically alter the virus? What if a laboratory accident released the virus into the world, as happened at a Singapore lab with SARS in 2003?
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