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Research resumes on deadly H5N1 bird flu virus



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Bird flu virusA group of Dutch scientists will resume studies on a deadly bird flu virus that  was halted last year amid fears that it could have spread to humans. News of the research being conducted was reported for the first time in 2011 when researchers at Erasmus medical center in the Netherlands altered the bird flu virus.

The experiments came to a halt after the news of the researches being carried out caused outcry. But after a year-long moratorium 40 scientists wrote a letter that was published on Wednesday in the journals Science and Nature saying the studies on the virus will resume now that most countries have put in place a new set of rules.

However, the research won’t rely on funds granted by the United States because they still haven’t relased new guidelines.

The New York Times reports:

During a telephone news conference on Wednesday, Ron Fouchier, a virologist who conducted some of the flu experiments at Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands, said the scientists were lifting the moratorium without waiting for guidelines from the United States. “How long do you want us to wait?” Dr. Fouchier asked. “If this was the Netherlands, would the U.S. wait? Should all countries really wait for the U.S., and why?”

The bird flu virus is called H5N1 and it is believed to be deadly if it comes in contact with humans. So far, a research conducted on ferrets found that the virus does not become viral but the altered version of the virus can infect ferrets and spread itself through the air.




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