Mutated superbugs that could kill millions are being engineered by scientists worldwide. But amid fears over their lab security and the rapid spread of bird flu in Indonesia, is the research too risky?
Bird flu is already aggressively lethal but scientists have now engineered a version of H5N1 that can be transmitted atmospherically. This controversial research has not only divided the scientific community but also enraged global security agencies concerned about bioterrorism. Some believe the benefits of research far outweigh any threats; for Dr Racaniello, "much of the rhetoric is simply alarmist and overblown". Yet for science journalist, Laurie Garrett, "[The Spanish flu of 1918] killed 100 million human beings with a 2% kill rate. Jump to the age of globalisation, and imagine a 50% kill rate." Is it just a matter of time before an outbreak of a devastating global pandemic? ABC Australia - www.journeyman.tv