That's right, in a lab comfortably decorated with a disco ball and functional beer tap -- because if you're going to be working with ridiculously dangerous viruses, it's best to do it while drunk and listening to the one genre of music most likely to destroy your faith in humanity -- virologist Ron Fouchier has experimented on the feared bird flu virus, creating a new mutation that's more dangerous and potentially more contagious than the already-deadly original. In his experiments infecting ferrets with the virus, it eventually became airborne, so direct contact was no longer necessary for infection. The victim just needs to breathe the same air.
At least if he ultimately causes the apocalypse, we can call him Ron "Douchier."
The details of Fouchier's work remain unclear, mainly because the voice of reason that is America's National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity has said, "Hey, guys? What you're doing is cool and all, but couldn't terrorists get hold of this and kill basically everyone?" Even if they couldn't break into the lab, there's already evidence that groups like al-Qaida are trying to recruit college-educated members who majored in mad science with a minor in playing with deadly viruses -- so what can't be stolen can still be replicated.
Fouchier's work hasn't been published, mainly to prevent someone from copying it and using it less in the pursuit of science and more in the pursuit of the end of the world as we know it. Meanwhile, we hope they've got some amazing locks on that place.
"Eh, that should be good."