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Dangerous flu mutations revealed

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Two scientists recently hit the headlines when they created mutant strains of H5N1 influenza, which can spread between mammals (see ‘Fears grow over lab-bred flu‘). But although Ron Fouchier of Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, spoke publicly to explain and defend the work, Yoshihiro Kawaoka, of the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, has been far quieter, deliberately saying nothing to the press.

That has now changed. At a Royal Society meeting in London about H5N1 research yesterday, the thus-far silent scientist spoke openly about his results after the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB), an independent advisory group to the US government, unanimously voted last week that Kawaoka’s paper should be published in full. Nature intends to “proceed with publication as soon as possible”.
 
 

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