Bird Flu Research
Dangerous Information on a Deadly Virus

Summary

Amid controversy, a cadre of experts are expected to meet in February at the World Health Organization to debate the publication of experiments that made a deadly form of bird flu more contagious in mammals in an effort to understand mechanisms of its evolution. Worries that the data and research could lead to a blueprint for a bioweapon or an accidental pandemic have fueled concerns. Recently, a federal advisory board recommended that some details of the research not be made public. In January, the scientists who conducted the as-yet-unpublished experiments announced in the journals Science and Nature their decision to “pause” research involving the viruses for 60 days. Other experts have asserted that the risks have been exaggerated. This Forum event, presented in collaboration with Reuters, examined questions raised by the publication of possibly dangerous information and the security issues faced by labs legitimately working with this virus.

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Presented in Collaboration with Reuters

Background Articles

Image Credit: Cynthia Goldsmith/CDC.