GM chickens could prevent spread of bird flu

Thursday, January 13, 2011 - 14:33 in Health & Medicine

Researchers produce genetically modified (GM) chickens that may reduce the risk of new bird flu strains transferring to humansScientists have produced genetically modified chickens that appear to prevent the spread of avian influenza. Though the chickens can themselves become infected with flu viruses such as H5N1, say the researchers, they cannot pass on the virus to any other birds with which they come into contact.The technique, if adopted commercially, could provide a new strategy to slow or prevent outbreaks of bird flu within poultry flocks, which would protect the health of chickens and also reduce the chances of viruses transferring to humans. Many flu viruses that infect humans, including the H1N1 strain behind the swine flu pandemic that swept across the world in 2009 and caused 6,000 deaths, start in domestic birds before transferring to mammals such as horses and pigs, and then ending up in humans."Chickens … can...

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