A recently published article in the journal Science has scientists claiming that it could only take a minimum of five genetic mutations to create an airborne variation to the H5N1 bird flu virus.
A mutated strain of the virus could be deadly in the wrong hands.
The two controversial studies released on the mutant flu variation were met with hesitance, as there was fear that a terrorist could utilize the information to create a weapon of mass destruction.
The two journals Science and Nature agreed to postpone the publication of the multiple studies related to the gene-altering virus at the government’s request.
In January, the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity recommended that the research be published without “methods or details” that terrorists might be able to use for the creation of biological weapons.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told reporters that the benefits from the Science study, in terms stimulating ideas and pursuing ways to understand the transmissibility, adaptability and pathogenesis of the virus, outweigh the risks that someone will use the data for nefarious purposes.
"Does that mean that there's no risk? No, of course not. I can't tell you at all
that there's no risk. But the benefits in my mind outweigh the risks," Dr. Fauci was quoted as saying.
Researchers have now turned their attention to creating and maintaining an acceptable vaccine in the event of a catastrophic virus outbreak.
Landau, Elizabeth (2012, June). Mutant bird flu would be airborne, scientists say. http://www.cnn.com. Retrieved June 22, 2012, from http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/06/21/mutant-bird-flu-would-be-airborne-scientists-say/?iref=allsearch