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Five mutations could make bird flu spread easily

Handful of alterations can turn H5N1 avian influenza into virus that infects mammals through the air

Just five mutations could make the deadly H5N1 avian influenza into a pandemic virus, controversial research on ferrets suggests.

Since it first appeared widely in humans in 2003, the H5N1 virus has infected more than 650 people in 15 countries, killing nearly 60 percent of them. So far, it doesn’t pass easily from human to human.

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