National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins announced on Friday (April 20) that he and Department of Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius agree that two recent H5N1 studies, which rendered the virus transmissible between ferrets, should be published in full. The stance mirrors the most recent recommendation of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB), which last month reversed its December suggestion to redact certain details of the studies.
“The HHS Secretary and I concur with the NSABB’s recommendation that the information in the two manuscripts should be communicated fully, and we have conveyed our concurrence to the journals considering publication of the manuscripts,” Collins wrote in a statement posted on the NIH website. “This information has clear value to national and international public health preparedness efforts and must be shared with those who are poised to realize the benefits of this research.”
But the paper authored by Ron Fouchier of Erasmus MC in the Netherlands still faces hurdles, as the Dutch government is currently exploring whether to “invoke export-control laws in a bid to prevent Fouchier from submitting a revised version of his paper to Science,” ScienceInsider reported.