engineering the flu

The Centers for Disease Control has announced that it will mate the Avian Influenza A (H5N1) virus (also known as “bird flu”) and human flu viruses to monitor the resulting viruses’ severity, and ability to infect and be transmitted. The process is called “reassortment.” Flu experts say the lab experiments are crucial to find out what may already be happening naturally in Asia; they fear the lethal bird flu circulating there will swap genes with a human strain to create a killer strain that could easily spread from person to person. (Science Central)

On the one hand its good the CDC is being proactive; if we have an example of a lethal bird flu we can create vaccines and be ready to handle an actual breakout.

On the other hand, isn’t experimenting in viruses how every zombie movie in existence gets started? If I find out they’re doing this in a giant government-sponsored underground complex called something like “the hive” or “the city” I’ll have a complete nervous breakdown.