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While this virus may have mutated by itself in the wild, there's also the highly likely chance it may have mutated into something that doesn't affect humans or birds, and could have basically died out.
Not much chance of that, now that at least three labs, probably a lot more in secret have deliberately created a version that can now be spread through the air, from human to human - which in the case of the previous, natural virus, killed 60% of humans it infected...60%.
Food Safety Consequences of Factory Farms
…..scientists suspect that it was in poultry factory farms that avian flu mutated from a relatively harmless virus found in wild birds for centuries to the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus that is killing birds and humans today.
For the first time ever, a government advisory board is asking scientific journals not to publish the details of certain biomedical experiments, for fear that the information could be used by terrorists to create deadly viruses and touch off epidemics.
In the experiments, conducted in the United States and the Netherlands, scientists created a highly transmissible form of a deadly flu virus that does not normally spread from person to person. Easy transmission is all it takes to start a pandemic, in which the virus spreads all over the world. The work was done in ferrets, which are considered a good model for predicting what flu viruses will do in people.
The virus, A(H5N1), was the one that causes bird flu, which rarely infects people but has an extraordinarily high death rate when it does get into humans.
A government advisory panel, the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, has asked two journals, Science and Nature, to keep certain details out of reports that they intend to publish on the research. The panel cannot force the journals to censor their articles, but the editor of Science, Bruce Alberts, said the journal was taking the recommendations seriously and would most likely withhold some information. He said the government would create a system to provide the missing details to legitimate scientists anywhere in the world who needed them.