In the new work, gene editing technology will be used to remove the bird’s DNA responsible for producing the ANP32 protein which the virus needs to infect a host.
The last flu pandemic that hit in 2009/10 was a relatively mild strain and yet still killed 500,000 people worldwide.
The famous 1918 “Spanish flu” killed around 50million people.
Wendy Barclay, professor and chair in influenza virology at Imperial who worked with Mike McGrew, says the idea behind developing gene-edited flu-resistant chickens is to be able “to stop the next flu pandemic at its source”.
She added: “We have identified the smallest possible genetic change we can make to chickens that can help to stop the virus taking hold.”
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