University of Wisconsin-Madison center aims to prepare people for possible mutations
By Karen Herzog of the Journal Sentinel
Madison - A bird flu virus at the center of an international debate sits in a padlocked freezer, deep inside a University of Wisconsin-Madison lab, waiting for new government guidelines that will allow researchers to continue unlocking its secrets.
The virus is protected by alarms.
It isn't deadly.
But government anti-terrorism rules dictate tight security around any biological agent that poses a potentially severe health threat.
Similar H5N1 avian influenza viruses circulating in nature don't follow anyone's rules.
They may be mutating into deadly threats capable of causing great loss of life, UW-Madison scientist Yoshihiro Kawaoka says, as he leads a hand-picked group of scientists, FBI agents and journalists on a rare tour of the $12.5 million Influenza Research Institute built exclusively for his research.