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Category: genetically engineered H5N1

In this week's edition of On Science BlogsTabitha M. Powledge pursues the notorious case of the dead ferrets, a mystery worthy of 221B Baker St. 

She begins with a nice...

In this week's edition of On Science BlogsTabitha M. Powledge pursues the notorious case of the dead ferrets, a mystery worthy of 221B Baker St. 

She begins with a nice roundup of blogs addressing the announced resumption this week of research on H5N1 bird-flu viruses engineered to be transmissible between mammals. Until now, humans appear to have contracted the virus only through contact with birds, especially poultry. But it can't be passed from one human to another. The new research was aimed at making the virus transmissible among ferrets, which respond to the virus the way humans do--or close to it, as I discussed in a post here earlier this week. The researchers doing the work agreed to a moratorium a year ago and unilaterally ended it this...

This morning, Mom Kunthear and Justine Drennan of The Phnom Penh Post report that a new case of avian flu has been found in a two-year-old girl...

This morning, Mom Kunthear and Justine Drennan of The Phnom Penh Post report that a new case of avian flu has been found in a two-year-old girl, the fourth case of the disease in Cambodia since Jan. 1. 

The World Health Organization reports that as of Jan. 16, 610 confirmed cases of H5N1 virus infections have been reported to WHO from 15 countries. Of those infected, 360 died.

The virus generally spreads from chickens to humans, and that is believed to be what is happening in Cambodia and elsewhere. But public-health authorities worry about mutations that could make the virus transmissible from one human to another. To try to understand that risk, some labs had engineered the virus...