Despite what we know about the good Professor Murphy and his law, an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports (in part) as follows. What's unclear is whether antiviral drugs cited in the article would be effective in preventing death should a killer virus somehow escape the BL-3 containment labs where the research is being conducted.
What health officials fear most about bird flu --- that it could trigger a pandemic by acquiring genes from a human flu virus and the ability to spread easily among people --- has not yet been known to happen naturally.
But scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta are playing out a scenario that could actually create the dreaded pandemic strain. The dangerous work is just getting under way in a high level biosecurity laboratory off Clifton Road.
The CDC's lab is thought to be the only one in the world where genes from a regular flu virus are being mixed with avian influenza, also known as H5N1.
"We're trying to understand, if this does occur in nature, what the properties of the viruses would be and how serious the pandemic might be," said Nancy Cox, chief of the CDC's influenza branch.