Amid controversy, a cadre of experts are expected to meet in February 2012 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 In January 2012, the scientists who conducted the as-yet-unpublished experiments announced in the journals Science and Nature their decision to “pause” research involving the viruses for 60 days.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.
Presented in Collaboration with Reuters
- Pause on avian flu transmission studies
- Pause on Avian Flu Transmission Research
- POLICY: ADAPTATIONS OF AVIAN FLU VIRUS ARE A CAUSE FOR CONCERN
- PUBLIC HEALTH, BIOSECURITY, AND H5N1
- NIH STATEMENT ON H5N1, JANUARY 20, 2012
National Institutes of Health
- FACING UP TO FLU: THE POTENTIAL FOR MUTANT-FLU RESEARCH TO IMPROVE PUBLIC HEALTH ANY TIME SOON HAS BEEN EXAGGERATED. TIMELY PRODUCTION OF SUFFICIENT VACCINE REMAINS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE.
- U.S. PANEL DEFENDS CALL TO CENSOR BIRD FLU STUDIES
- PANEL EXPLAINS DECISION TO LIMIT PUBLICATION OF BIRD FLU RESEARCH
Los Angeles Times
- THE NEW YORK TIMES AVIAN FLU HEALTH GUIDE
The New York Times
Image Credit: Cynthia Goldsmith/CDC.