As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday 28 January 2013

Mad Science: Bird Flu Experiment Insane

Remember the whole bird flu scare of a year or two ago?  We dodged that bullet, so what are scientists doing now?  You guessed it:  creating a new strain of the avian flu virus that can jump from species to species.  And this is supposedly in the name of protecting our health?  Really, scientists, isn’t there some cure for disease you could be working on?

Previously there was concern that the H5N1 virus would jump between birds to infect humans.  And, when we were warned about a possible pandemic, scientists agreed on a moratorium to prevent the creation of new strains of this virus…to prevent any new strains from passing from birds to humans.  Yet here they are only one year later…trying to CREATE a new strain of this virus.  Scientists are changing the H5N1 avian flu virus in the lab to make it transmissible between mammals through “respiratory droplets”—in this case ferrets.  According to the news reports, Dutch virologists will be attempting to understand how the bird virus could spread through the air to humans.  News reports suggest that the experiments will begin in weeks.

The same research was considered a biosecurity threat only a year ago.  Now, we’re supposed to believe that it is in our best interests?  I don’t think so.

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