HPAI H5N1: A Global Pandemic Concern, with Implications for Pandemic Preperation and Public Health Policy
Nancy Bigley (Advisor), Shalini Forbis (Committee Member), Barbara Hull (Committee Member)
Master of Science (MS)
Research on highly pathogenic avian influenza A (HPAI) H5N1 has gained much attention in recent years due to its devastating impact within the bird population. While transmission to humans is rare, infections are fatal in more than half of the cases. One of the main concerns among the scientific community is the ability for this virus to mutate in a way much like seasonal influeanza that would allow it to be transmitted efficiently among the human population. Two researchers were able to separately create mutant isolates of H5N1 influenza A virus that could be transmitted via the respiratory route between ferrets. The submission of these articles led to multiple public health and biosecurity/biosafety concerns. The purpose of this paper is to explore the current debate regarding restrictions on H5N1 research. H5N1is a great risk to biosecurity/biosafety, and many believe it should be excluded from future research. However, with the viruses' high mutation rate and the possibility of genetic reassortment with other mammalian influenza viruses the risks to society are already high. Since the virus could become a pandemic within the human population, this paper will also provide an in depth exploration of current public health policy and pandemic preparedness operations underway.
Department or Program
Microbiology and Immunology
Year Degree Awarded
Copyright 2013, all rights reserved. This open access ETD is published by Wright State University and OhioLINK.