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Fears of mutant virus escape halt bird flu study
Posted By admin On January 21, 2012 @ 4:53 am In Sci Tech | Comments Disabled
January 21, 2012
Researchers studying a potentially more lethal, airborne version of the bird flu virus have suspended their studies because of concerns the mutant virus they have created could be used as a devastating form of bioterrorism or accidentally escape the lab.
In a letter published in the journals Nature and Science on Friday, 39 scientists defended the research as crucial to public health efforts, including surveillance programs to detect when the H5N1 influenza virus might mutate and spark a pandemic.
But they are bowing to fear that has become widespread since media reports discussed the studies in December that the engineered viruses “may escape from the laboratories” — not unlike the frightful scenario in the 1971 science fiction movie “The Andromeda Strain” — or possibly be used to create a bioterror weapon.
Among the scientists who signed the letter were leaders of the two teams that have spearheaded the research, at Erasmus Medical College in the Netherlands and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, as well as influenza experts at institutions ranging from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the University of Hong Kong.
For the full letter, see: bit.ly/yr4LeN 
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URL to article: http://www.prisonplanet.com/fears-of-mutant-virus-escape-halt-bird-flu-study.html
URLs in this post:
 Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/20/us-birdflu-idUSTRE80J02X20120120
 bit.ly/yr4LeN: http://bit.ly/yr4LeN
 Bird flu researchers get green light to continue work on engineered virus: http://www.prisonplanet.com/bird-flu-researchers-get-green-light-to-continue-work-on-engineered-virus.html
 Scientists to create mutant form of new bird flu virus to work out risk of it causing a deadly human pandemic: http://www.prisonplanet.com/scientists-to-create-mutant-form-of-new-bird-flu-virus-to-work-out-risk-of-it-causing-a-deadly-human-pandemic.html
 Weaponized Bird Flu Research Published as Virus ‘Just Mutations’ Away from Pandemic: http://www.prisonplanet.com/weaponized-bird-flu-research-published-as-virus-%e2%80%98just-mutations%e2%80%99-away-from-pandemic.html
 Artificially Created Virus Can Escape Laboratory: http://www.prisonplanet.com/artificially-created-virus-can-escape-laboratory.html
 New flu resembles feared 1918 virus: study: http://www.prisonplanet.com/new-flu-resembles-feared-1918-virus-study.html
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