Debora MacKenzie, writing for New Scientist, was one of the first journalists to report on Ron Fouchier’s experiments with a mutated form of H5N1 back in September of 2011, and quoted Fouchier as saying the virus `is transmitted as efficiently as seasonal flu.’
She also included in her lede: What's more, the virus is just as lethal despite the mutations.
And that was the story, widely reported by many media outlets, since the announcement at a Malta bird flu conference.
This week, however, during an ASM Biodefense panel discussion (see ASM BioDefense Meeting Video Now Online) we got a `kinder and gentler’ description of this mutated virus from Fouchier – one describing it as less than lethal (in ferrets), and `poorly transmitted’.
What, many of us have asked, is going on?
Well, Debora MacKenzie is back with a follow up report today in New Scientist today, that attempts to reconcile the initial descriptions of this mutated virus with the new one delivered this week.
14:06 2 March 2012
Debora MacKenzie, consultant
If after watching the ASM video, and reading this report, you aren’t thoroughly confused, you obviously aren’t paying close enough attention.