-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Jan. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists have developed
genetically modified chickens that don't transmit bird flu to other
This achievement could stop bird flu outbreaks from spreading
within poultry flocks and possibly reduce the risk of bird flu
epidemics that could lead to flu virus epidemics in humans,
according to the researchers at the Universities of Cambridge and
Edinburgh in the United Kingdom.
The scientists developed the chickens by introducing a gene that
makes a "decoy" molecule that mimics a crucial control element of
the bird flu virus. This molecule interferes with the replication
cycle of the virus.
When the scientists infected the genetically modified chickens
with bird flu, they became sick but did not transmit the virus to
other chickens in the same pen.
The study is published in the Jan. 14 issue of the journal
"Chickens are potential bridging hosts that can enable new strains of flu to be transmitted to humans. Preventing virus transmission in chickens should reduce the economic impact of the disease and reduce the risk posed to people exposed to the infected birds," Dr. Laurence Tiley, senior lecturer in molecular virology in the veterinary medicine department at University of Cambridge, said in a university news release.
"The genetic modification we describe is a significant first step along the path to developing chickens that are completely resistant to avian [bird] flu. These particular birds are only intended for research purposes, not for consumption," he added.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
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