Marquis C. Saddler
February 26, 2013
The title of this article is, “How Hard Would It Be for Avian Flu to Spread?” In this article two teams of scientist genetically altered a deadly flu virus (H5N1) to make it more contagious. The two teams consisted of scientist from Erasmus Medical Center, in the Netherlands, and the other at the University of Wisconsin (McNeil & Grady, 2012). Some argued that the research should have never been done, while others believe that the research may be beneficial for finding vaccines and antiviral drugs to combat the virus. There is one point on which the factions agree: The ability of a virus to spread easily from person to person is the key to determining whether it can cause a pandemic (McNeil & Grady, 2012). The main risk factor for catching bird flu is working at a chicken farm or a live bird market (McNeil & Grady, 2012). According to McNeil & Grady, (2012), “The rare cases of apparent human-to-human transmission have usually involved long, close contact, like a mother caring for a sick daughter with the flu”. The new virus which has been tested by both teams was used in ferrets, because the flu behaves almost the same in humans. There is one reassuring note in the unsettling findings from the two teams. Fearsome though it may be, the new virus appears to be vulnerable to existing vaccines and flu drugs (McNeil & Grady, 2012). This article is related to this course because not only is everything around us related to biology one way or another, but in our text books it talks briefly about how viruses affect humans. In the text book, “Biology Today and Tomorrow without Physiology”, there is a section in chapter 13, Early life Forms and the Viruses, which talk about H5N1 and other new flus. The text gives great insight as to how hard it would be for the avian flu to spread from human-to-human. According to Starr, C., Evers, C.A., & Starr,...