Deadly GM flu research that could ‘wipe out significant portion of humanity’ set to restart

by DAMIEN GAYLE, Daily Mail  |  published on January 27, 2013

GM flu

Scientists last night ended a voluntary ban on creating mutant forms of bird flu, despite warnings that an accidental release could kill millions of people.

Research into H5N1 transmission stopped a year ago amid fears information about how to create potentially dangerous viruses could be used for bioterrorism.

The self-imposed moratorium came after two teams independently discovered how to mutate the virus so that it could be transmitted through the air between humans.

However, other leading scientists condemned the decision to go ahead with the research, with one warning an ‘accidental release could wipe out a significant portion of humanity.’

Forty of the world’s leading flu researchers voluntarily halted investigations into the airborne transmission of the H5N1 avian flu strain last January, following public outrage over the work.

Announcing the decision to resume studies in a letter published in the journals Science and Nature last night, they said the work would only be carried out in the most secure sites in countries that agree it can go ahead.

That will allow work to start again in key laboratories in the Netherlands and elsewhere but not yet in the U.S or U.S.-funded research centres, pending further safety and security guidelines there.

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