Bird Flu (H5N1) has the potential to be a dangerous infection if it were to become readily transmissible to humans.
In a recent study, researchers used genetic engineering to do just that….to make the flu germ more transmissible for purposes of their special studies of the virus.
Given the potential danger of such a change in the genetics, the researchers have taken great care in their handling of this specially constructed strain, but the US government is concerned that the information contained in this research paper, if if falls into the wrong hands, could be used to ‘weaponize’ the flu virus as a terrorist plot.
So…the US government has forbidden the publishing of many of the specifics of this research; in particular the specific information on the changes what were made to the H5N1 virus to increase it’s virulence.
Although this is not applicable in the general practice of medicine, it does point to the coming dangers of genetic manipulation and the concerns over freedom to disseminate research information in this era of potential bioterorrism.