Archive for ‘Bird flu’

September 27, 2011

Five easy mutations to make bird flu a lethal pandemic

This is pretty scary. It’s been a concern all along, of course, that such mutations could occur, but now it has been actually verified… in ferrets. One has to feel sorry for the ferrets…. And we think we have enough problems already. Just wait.

Five easy mutations to make bird flu a lethal pandemic – New Scientist

H5N1 bird flu can kill humans, but has not gone pandemic because it cannot spread easily among us. That might change: five mutations in just two genes have allowed the virus to spread between mammals in the lab. What’s more, the virus is just as lethal despite the mutations.

“The virus is transmitted as efficiently as seasonal flu,” says Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, who reported the work at a scientific meeting on flu last week in Malta.