A new report out Tuesday claims Dutch scientists have created a highly contagious, airborne form of the bird flu, which could potentially be capable of killing millions.
Unlike the normal H5N1 strain of avian influenza - which was only contagious through close personal contact with an infected person - this form can be spread by merely coughing or sneezing.
The lab-created bird flu strain was engineered by a team of scientists led by Ron Fouchier of Rotterdam's Erasmus Medical Centre. The researchers said the mutation only required a few variations to the original strain.
Naturally, the U.S. government has expressed concerns and is asking the researchers not to publish all the details of their discovery, though the researchers have already expressed a desire to publish the report. I'm inclined to agree with the government - this study is quite troubling.
Science is responsible for life-saving vaccinations and cures we have today, but in some cases, science for the mere sake of experimentation could lead to dangerous outcomes.
To experiment on the H5N1 virus just to show the world that it is possible, in my opinion is quite irresponsible of these Dutch researchers since there is no way to stop this virus if it gets out of the lab.
A couple years ago, when the H5N1 virus first became public, there was a lot of global concern it would turn out to be a massive pandemic that could affect millions of people.
Luckily, nothing of great proportion happened, but now we have these scientists hoping to publish the details of how they developed a deadly strain of the flu.
Not only could this bring more fear to patients around the world, but also give terrible ideas or vital information to rogue scientists who may help to create a bio-terrorism agent.