Designer Flu

Designer Flu

How scientists made a killer virus airborne — and who should know

By Tina Hesman Saey, 11:05 AM May 17, 2012

Last summer, scientists performed an experiment that could have been ripped from the script of a Hollywood thriller. Sealed off in high-tech laboratories in the Netherlands and Wisconsin, researchers transformed one of the world’s most deadly viruses, transmissible by direct contact, into versions capable of spreading through the air.

Unlike in the movies, news of the lab-made viruses was not delivered as a threat, and the scientists doing the work weren’t henchmen of an evil dictator or me...

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