New China H7N9 strain gives kick to mutant bird flu research
By Kate Kelland
Wed Oct 23, 2013
(Reuters) – Dutch scientists hidden away in a top-security laboratory are seeking to create mutant flu viruses, dangerous work designed to prepare the world for a lethal pandemic by beating nature to it.
The idea of engineering viral pathogens to be more deadly than they are already has generated huge controversy, amid fears that such viruses could leak out or fall into the wrong hands.
But with China braced for scores more cases of a deadly new strain of H7N9 bird flu, Ron Fouchier and Ab Osterhaus say the benefits of this gene mutation research far outweigh the risks.