Shortly before Thanksgiving science reporters and bloggers began buzzing about a newly created, genetically modified version of the deadly bird flu that could easily be transmitted between ferrets, which closely mimic the human response to flu.
“Locked up in the bowels of the medical faculty building here (Rotterdam, the Netherlands) and accessible to only a handful of scientists lies a man-made flu virus that could change world history if it were ever set free,” is the lead to a Nov. 23 Science magazine blog entry, which goes on to note that the “scientists believe it’s likely that the pathogen, if it emerged in nature or were released, would trigger an influenza pandemic, quite possibly with many millions of deaths.”
Although the bird flu has been decimating poultry flocks overseas since the 1990s, it rarely threatens humans. That’s because. . .