White House Weighs in on H5N1

Science adviser John Holdren speaks out about how the Presidential Administration is handling the controversial research that rendered avian flu transmissible between ferrets.

By | April 18, 2012

image: White House Weighs in on H5N1 White HouseWikimedia Commons, Susan Sterner


Last month (March 1), Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) wrote to White House science adviser John Holdren asking about current policies on "dual-use research of concern" (DURC), or research that holds both good and potentially malicious implications. In his letter, Sensenbrenner said the government’s treatment of the ongoing H5N1 debacle "appeared ad hoc, delayed, and inadequate," ScienceInsider reported.

Last week (April 9), Holdren responded to Sensenbrenner’s concerns, stating that "the circumstances surrounding the recent review of H5N1 manuscripts are unprecedented." Indeed, while a US biosecurity board last week recommended the full publication of both manuscripts, its decision in December that certain details should be redacted was the first time a government advisory committee had ever made such a recommendation. In response to the continued discussions, the government last month issued a new policy for reviewing DURC research proposals.

But Sensenbrenner is not fully satisfied with Holdren’s answer. “I believe the Administration needs to be more proactive…and prepare for possible threats before they occur,” he wrote in a statement sent to ScienceInsider. “The new policy is a good, if belated, first step, and I will be watching its implementation closely.”


Add a Comment

Avatar of: You



Sign In with your LabX Media Group Passport to leave a comment

Not a member? Register Now!

LabX Media Group Passport Logo

Popular Now

  1. Rethinking the Rise of Mammals
    Daily News Rethinking the Rise of Mammals

    Mammals diversified 30 million years later than previously estimated, according to a new analysis of an ancient fossil.

  2. Wiping Out Gut Bugs Stops Obesity
  3. Birth of the Skin Microbiome
    Daily News Birth of the Skin Microbiome

    The immune system tolerates the colonization of commensal bacteria on the skin with the aid of regulatory T cells during the first few weeks of life, a mouse study shows.

  4. Battling the Bulge
    Bio Business Battling the Bulge

    Weight-loss drugs that target newly characterized obesity-related receptors and pathways could finally offer truly effective fat control.

Life Technologies