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Are Chickens the Solution to Bird Flu?

British scientists have produced genetically modified chickens that can stop bird flu spreading within poultry flocks and therefore to humans.

British scientists have produced genetically modified chickens that can stop bird flu spreading within poultry flocks and therefore to humans. Even if the chickens are infected, reports London's Guardian, they cannot pass on the virus to any other birds.

Reuters reports:


Scientists from Cambridge and Edinburgh universities said that while the transgenic chickens still got sick and died when they were exposed to H5N1 bird flu, they didn't transmit the virus to other chickens they came into contact with.

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Preventing virus transmission in chickens should reduce the economic impact of the disease and reduce the risk posed to people, said Laurence Tiley, of Cambridge's department of veterinary medicine, one of the lead researchers on the study.

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Just today the World Health Organization reported a new case of H5N1 Avian influenza in Egypt, with a total of 516 cases of Avian flu reported worldwide since 2003 and 306 deaths.

The full scientific report entitled The Suppression of Avian Flu in Genetically Modified Chickens appears in today's issue of Science. The next step in the study will attempt to make chickens that are fully resistant to the flu.

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