Bird Flu Studies Fly Again

Stalled for over 4 years, studies that modify bird flu viruses—which could make them riskier to humans—are set to recommence within weeks.

Federal officials had deemed the experiments too dangerous to conduct. But last year, they were quietly green-lit and NIH funding is beginning to flow.

Despite concern that a “souped-up virus” could fall into the wrong hands, proponents say these studies could help prevent a pandemic.

Researcher Yoshi Kawaoka welcomed the “new oversight mechanisms” for the high-risk brand of research. Kawaoka’s work was paused after he and another researcher separately revealed they had modified H5N1 to spread between ferrets.

Science

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