The World Health Organization is investigating claims made by an Australian researcher that new the H1N1 swine flu virus may have evolved as result of human error.
Adrian Gibbs, 75, said he planned to publish a report saying the never-before-seen strain of influenza may have evolved in eggs used to grow viruses for scientific research and vaccine development, according to Bloomberg News.
The noted virologist said his findings could help better understand the microbe's ability to spread.
World Health Organization Assistant Director-General of Health Security Keiji Fukuda is reviewing the study, Bloomberg reported.
If Gibbs' research is confirmed, Fukuda said it will raise many new questions about the new strain.
"Was this developed in part as a vaccine virus? Was this developed as some sort of research project? And in those instances, was it released on purpose? Was it an accidental release? What would be the circumstances?" he was quoted as saying.
However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta analyzed the report and concluded there is no evidence to support Gibbs’s conclusion, Bloomberg reported.