Posted in: Health Studies

Bird Flu: Concerns About Airborne Version Of The Virus Spark Controversy

H5N1 pandemic

Bird flu concerns surrounding an airborne version of the disease being created via ongoing research continue to spark controversy. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the ban on avian flu research was just recently lifted. Concerns that advanced research on the “highly transmissible” H5N1 virus could inadvertently create an airborne version of bird flu continue to inflame folks on both sides of the debate.

The H5N1 research controversy began in 2011 when two researchers began “potentially risky” tests, Fox News reports. In response to the ongoing avian flu research debate, the United States government unveiled a framework for determining how possibly dangerous studies get funded.

A journal of Science forum details the funding guidelines for the H5N1 bird flu virus. Those opposed to the avian flu testing reportedly fear that an airborne version of the virus could be created, permitting mammals to become infected by mere droplets.

Recent bird flu research reportedly attempted to generate an airborne H5N1 virus to gain a better understanding of how such a disease could evolve in the wild. A policy draft from the White House reportedly addressed “dual use” research projects which could potentially cause both good and harm, The Verge notes.

If an airborne bird flu virus was developed in a research lab, it could potentially be used as a bioweapon if samples escaped from the controlled environment. Although about 600 cases of the H5N1 bird flu virus have occurred since 2003, the disease cannot currently pass from person-to-person. Should the virus become airborne, the chances for a bird flu pandemic could increase significantly.

Do you think researchers should be able to attempt to make an airborne H5N1 virus?

[Image Via: Shutterstock.com]

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