Thursday, May 3, 2012

H5N1 Paper Published: Deadly, Transmissible Bird Flu Could Be Closer than Thought


On Wednesday, Nature finally published Kawaoka’s research. (We’re still waiting for the Fouchier paper, though the Dutch scientist was recently granted an export license for his work, so it should appear soon.) The sobering takeaway: avian H5N1 flu viruses in nature may be only one mutation away from spreading effectively between mammals, likely including human beings. If that happens — and if H5N1 retains its apparently sky-high mortality rate — we could be in for serious trouble.

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