until the avian influenza virus known as A(H5N1) becomes transmissible through the air between humans.From the New York Times, in a story about the creation of a transmissible H5N1 in a laboratory:Various publications have reported that the experiment involved creating mutations in the virus and then squirting it into the respiratory tracts of ferrets. When the ferrets got sick, the researchers would collect their nasal secretions and expose other ferrets to the virus. After repetitions of this process, a strain of virus emerged from sick ferrets last summer that could infect animals in nearby cages without being squirted into them — just by traveling through the air.Published reports say five mutations were all it took to transform the virus... Looking back on that day in July with Sander Herfst, the member of his team who told him the virus had gone airborne, Dr. Fouchier said, "We both needed a beer to recover from the shock."Then they planned their next step, repeating the experiment to make sure the results were reliable... They ran the tests again. Once more, A(H5N1) went airborne.www.nytimes.com/2011/12/27/science/debate-persists-on-deadly...Loren
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