If this pandemic-ready flu virus did escape.....well, let's just hope it doesn't.
From the Daily Mail :
A group of scientists is pushing to publish research about how they created a man-made flu virus that could potentially wipe out civilisation.Nature couldn't get it right. So we had to give it a helping hand.
The deadly virus is a genetically tweaked version of the H5N1 bird flu strain, but is far more infectious and could pass easily between millions of people at a time.
Virologist Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands lead a team of scientists who discovered that a mere five mutations to the avian virus was sufficient to make it spread far more easily.
He conducted his tests on ferrets as the animals have become a model of choice for influenza and have similar respiratory tracts to humans.
Paul Keim, chairman of NSABB, said: 'I can't think of another pathogenic organism that is as scary as this one. I don't think anthrax is scary at all compared to this."