Scientists explain how they created bird flu that spreads easily among mammals
LOS ANGELES (MCT) — Scientists have created versions of the H5N1 bird flu that spread easily among mammals through droplets in sneezes and have concluded that the deadly virus could trigger a global pandemic in humans.
Writing in Friday’s edition of the journal Science, Dutch researchers laid out for their fellow scientists — and the public — precisely how they engineered bird flu strains that were contagious in ferrets, laboratory animals often used as proxies for people in influenza research. As few as five mutations, generated by passing the virus from ferret to ferret to ferret just 10 times, could be enough to allow it to infect new hosts through the air, said virologist Ron Fouchier, lead author of the report.
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