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The Bird Flu Experiments - NYTimes.com

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Scientists who had stopped research during the past year on a newly created bird flu virus because of safety and terrorism concerns have announced plans to resume their work... The concerns arose after two research groups, one in the Netherlands and one in Wisconsin, genetically altered a bird flu virus, which seldom infects humans but is lethal when it does. Five to nine genetic mutations in the Dutch experiment allowed the bird flu virus to spread by coughs and sneezes among ferrets, a laboratory model for what might happen in humans....But as an editorial in Nature observed, "an independent risk-benefit analysis" of such research "is still lacking." The editorial warned, wisely, "The potential risks of the work demand exceptional precautions in any future research."

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