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Bird Flu Papers to Publish

Biosecurity board recommends publication of data detailing transmissibility of H5N1 avian influenza.

By | April 2, 2012

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, THEGREENJ

The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) has given the go-ahead for Nature and Science to publish two avian influenza papers it had previously recommended censoring, reported The Chronicle of Higher Education. Last December, the NSABB recommended redacting data detailing the mutations that the H5N1 viruses had acquired in lab experiments that conferred ferret-to-ferret transmission through the air. After meeting late last week to review revised versions of the papers, the NSABB reversed this decision, now recommending full publication.

The initial decision to censor some of the data resulted in a heated debate, and raised some questions regarding the safety precautions that had been taken during the research. Yoshihiro Kawaoka, who led one of the studies, told The Chronicle in an email statement that revisions to his paper detailed such precautions, and supported his argument that his data will improve international surveillance for H5N1.

"The data described in the revised manuscripts do not appear to provide information that would immediately enable misuse of the research in ways that would endanger public health or national security," the NSABB said in a statement.

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Comments

Avatar of: Edward R. Mikol

Edward R. Mikol

Posts: 1457

April 3, 2012

This piece says that they are a "revised" (i.e.- redacted/censored) versions of the original articles, so this is not "full publication" ( which implies that the unchanged original articles are being printed).

The writer seems to be fudging this distinction for some reason.

Removing potentially dangerous material to public health and safety is only common sense.

Why provide terrorists or lunatics with any more apocalyptic tools than are already at large?

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 3, 2012

This piece says that they are a "revised" (i.e.- redacted/censored) versions of the original articles, so this is not "full publication" ( which implies that the unchanged original articles are being printed).

The writer seems to be fudging this distinction for some reason.

Removing potentially dangerous material to public health and safety is only common sense.

Why provide terrorists or lunatics with any more apocalyptic tools than are already at large?

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 4, 2012

I agree 150% with Richard H. Ebright: "I believe it was irresponsible to have performed this research in the
absence a risk-benefit assessment. The research is likely to have no, or
essentially no, practical benefits. Claims that the lab-generated
transmissible H5N1 strains will provide potential benefits in terms of
improved surveillance and response are hollow." 

Avatar of: Pablo Fuentes-Prior

Pablo Fuentes-Prior

Posts: 1457

April 4, 2012

I agree 150% with Richard H. Ebright: "I believe it was irresponsible to have performed this research in the
absence a risk-benefit assessment. The research is likely to have no, or
essentially no, practical benefits. Claims that the lab-generated
transmissible H5N1 strains will provide potential benefits in terms of
improved surveillance and response are hollow." 

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