Summary: Scientists have created a SUPER VIRUS from the avian H5N1 flu virus that now has the ability to infect humans.
H5N1 is usually a virus found in birds. Researchers infected a few ferrets with it, since apparently ferrets have similar immune systems to humans. Result: Virus can now infect people. Did I mention this virus is predicted to be able to kill off half the human population? That's 1/2. 50%. ~3.5 billion people dead.
Scary thought? Don't worry about it!
The real problem right now isn't if there will be a man-made epidemic, you see these scientists aren't so careless as to allow this new virus outside the lab. There are many safety procedures against that.
The issue here is if these scientists should be allowed to publish their work. This is a great achievement in biology and science after all... but recall current beliefs that the next world war will be fought with biological weapons. And these scientists have basically created possibly the most deadly weapon of that sort... and if they publish they'll be making the methods they used public.
Public meaning anyone has access to it, other scientists, innocent undergrads and the bio-terrorists.
So obviously they shouldn't be allowed to publish right? But the methods in this study could potentially open the scientific field up to novel ideas regarding infectious diseases. If we can mutate a disease to become infectious, we can do the opposite too can't we? The more we understand infectious diseases the more of a chance we have of finding a way to temper with their mechanisms of survival, thus saving ourselves.
So while the big guys figure out the legal details, all we regular folks can do is sit pitifully and await the results. Who knows? Maybe their methods used extremely expensive equipment that only the Netherlands can afford...