Monday 17 May 2021

Expert unease over deadly flu virus ‘created’ in Dutch laboratory

Dutch scientists have created a flu virus which is so deadly there is doubt about whether the research should be published, the Volkskrant reports on Friday.


The paper says American experts are worried detailed information could fall into the wrong hands and that terrorists could recreate the virus as a weapon. The fears are notable because the work was carried out on behalf of the National Institutes of Health in the US.
The research team, led by Ron Fouchier, professor of virology at Erasmus teaching hospital, was able to create a highly infectious variant of the bird flu virus H5N1. H5N1 rarely transfers from animal to human, but if it does, the infection is often fatal.
Pandemic
Fouchier was asked to find out if H5N1 could lead to a pandemic and was able to show that a couple of mutations in the virus dna changed it into an extremely virulent form. Japanese researchers have also made similar findings, the paper says.
Fouchier then offered an article on his findings to scientific journal Science which asked a US institute for bio-security to examine the result. That institute told the US government the research could be threatening to public health and security.
The Volkskrant says Fouchier is unwilling to comment on the situation because he does not want to prejudice the expert opinion. Both his and the Japanese research are currently being scrutinised.

Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl

The DutchNews.nl team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments.

DutchNews.nl has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.