UWM Bird Flu Research Published

5/6/12 – A U-W Madison scientist has finally gotten his controversial research about the bird flu published. A team led by Yoshihiro Kawaoka had its studies published in the on-line journal Nature. A second study by a team in the Netherlands will have its results published in a few days by the journal Science. Kawaoka said the U-W’s research showed there are relatively few amino-acid mutations sufficient for transmitting the bird flu strain to mammals. But he cautions that there might be other mutations that can give the virus to people. And some viruses only require just four mutations to host cells that can threaten human health. Because of those factors, he said the research should continue. The federal government, which funded the research, originally asked that scientists only publish some of the work, so terrorists cannot duplicate the bird flu virus created as part of the studies. But the scientific community opposed that. Kawaoka recently said he modified his report to provide a more in-depth explanation of the significance of his findings – and to explain more about his lab’s bio-security and safety. Last week, the government authorized full findings of both studies to be published.