US Seeks New Review of Easier-to-Spread Bird Flu

Posted Wednesday, February 29, 2012 --- 10:39 a.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A scientist who created an easier-to-spread version of bird flu said his work isn't as risky as people fear. The U.S. is asking its biosecurity advisers to reconsider if the research should be made public.

Researchers were studying how bird flu might evolve to become a bigger threat to people when they created strains that at least some mammals -- ferrets -- can spread through the air. U.S. health officials urged the details be kept secret so would-be terrorists couldn't copy the strains, and critics worried that lethal viruses could escape.

But Dr. Ron Fouchier of the Netherlands' Erasmus University told U.S. scientists Wednesday that the new virus didn't kill the ferrets. In fact, he said those previously exposed to regular flu were protected.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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