Bird flu article was postponed because of the terror threat
Publication of scientific articles about the causative agent of so-called bird flu have decided to be postponed because of concerns about bioterrorism. As reported by New Scientist , the content will be evaluated by experts from the National Science Advisory Board for the U.S. House.
This article describes a study conducted by a team led by Ron Fauchira from Erasmus University in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The results of their work scientists reported at the International Conference on Influenza, held in Malta in September 2011.
Researchers have made two mutations into the genome of the influenza virus H5N1, which causes infection mainly in birds. Due to genetic changes pathogen avian influenza has become more dangerous to mammals. By infecting virus to ferrets, the researchers watched its further transformations.
As a result, five mutations were identified that occurred randomly at different viruses under conditions simulating natural course. According to the authors, these mutations are extremely dangerous to humans.
Neutral H5N1 virus kills up to 60 percent of infected individuals. However, a person can get them only by direct contact with body fluids of infected birds. Mutant retained a high lethality agent and rapidly spread among laboratory mammals.
Article by Fauchira group was presented for publication in the journal Science . Editorial publication gave it to the American Council on Biosafety. Expert body must assess whether material of the paper can be used to create a biological threat to the population.