When a flu virus is made deadlier…Scientists debate whether research should be published — or be done at all!

Revolutionizing Awareness

http://projects.registerguard.com/turin/2011/dec/27/when-a-flu-virus-is-made-deadlier/

When a flu virus is made deadlier

Scientists debate whether research should be published — or be done at all

BY DENISE GRADY AND DONALD MCNEIL JR.

The New York Times

Appeared in print: Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2011, page A1

The young scientist, normally calm and measured, seemed edgy when he stopped by his boss’s office.

“You are not going to believe this one,” he told Ron Fouchier, a virologist at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Holland. “I think we have an airborne H5N1 virus.”

The news, delivered one afternoon last July, was chilling. It meant that Fouchier’s research group had taken one of the most dangerous flu viruses ever known and made it even more dangerous — by tweaking it genetically to make it more contagious.

What shocked the researchers was how easy it had been, Fouchier said. Just a few mutations were all it…

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