Research names five mutations making potent H5N1 strain airborne
A controversial research paper banned from publication in 2011 because it contained potentially dangerous information is now available for the world to see.
The study, appearing in the June 22 Science, details experiments in which researchers in the Netherlands created a version of the H5N1 bird flu virus that can be passed through the air from one ferret to another. The H5N1 avian influenza virus currently does not spread between people through coughs or sneezes, but the new work suggests that only a few mutations would be needed to turn H5N1 from a virus that requires close contact into one that could spread through the air.
A U.S. government advisory board originally ruled that the Science paper and a similar one published in the June 21 Nature by researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Japanese colleagues should not be published in full because terrorists might use information about the flu virus mutations to cre