London: A group of scientists has caused a storm of controversy after creating a man-made virus that could potentially wipe out humanity if it ever escaped the laboratory where it was made.The deadly virus is a genetically tweaked version of the H5N1 bird flu strain, but is far more infectious and could pass easily between millions of people at a time.The current strain of H5N1 has only killed 500 people and is not contagious enough to cause a global pandemic, but there are fears that the modified virus is so dangerous it could be used for bio-warfare, if it falls into the wrong hands.Virologist Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands led a team of scientists who discovered that a mere five mutations to the avian virus was sufficient to make it spread far more easily.
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