April 5, 2013
Scientists in the Dutch city of Rotterdam know precisely what it takes for a bird flu to mutate into a potential human pandemic strain – because they’ve created just such mutant viruses in the laboratory.
So as they watch with some trepidation the emergence in China of a strain of bird flu previously unknown in humans, they also argue it vindicates their controversial decision to conduct these risky experiments despite fierce opposition.
Above all else, what the world needs to know about this new strain of H7N9 bird flu is how likely it is to be able to spread efficiently among human populations.
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