The London Daily Mail reported this morning on a frightening discovery: a man-made flu virus created in a Dutch lab that could wipe out millions if it ever escaped.
A group of scientists at the Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands tweaked a version of the well-known H5N1 bird flu to make the strain much more deadly. The team discovered that a mere five mutations to the avian virus was sufficient to make it spread far more easily. Virologist Ron Fouchier told the Daily Mail that the strain is "one of the most dangerous viruses you can make" and is bracing for a media storm regarding the lab's research.
The tests were conducted on ferrets because of the animal's similar respiratory tracts to humans.