Bird Flu Research Reconsidered

Biosecurity agency will give controversial H5N1 bird flu research another look-over in light of new data and clarification.

By | March 1, 2012

Transmission electron micrograph of H5N1 virions.WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL

Yesterday (February 29) at a short-notice meeting held by the American Society of Microbiologists, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases head Anthony Fauci announced that government agencies will ask the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) to reconsider publication of controversial H5N1 research.

These “two most famous unpublished manuscripts in modern science history,” as infectious disease researcher and NSABB panel member Michael Osterholm described them to MedScape, contain details of how to engineer the H5N1 virus to become more transmissible in ferrets, raising concerns of a bioterrorism threat. After the NSABB recommended that parts of the papers be redacted, furious debate has stirred among government officials, scientists, and even the World Health Organization (WHO) over whether the research should be published.

At the meeting, Fauci said that new versions of the manuscripts—including new data and “reevaluations of old data”—call for reexamination of the research in full, especially as the NSABB has had more limited access to the data than the WHO panel that recommended full publication 2 weeks ago.

Members of the NSABB declined to speculate on how the panel will view the publications, but they’re keeping open minds, reported ScienceNOW. “The recommendations from NSABB can clearly be changed in the future,” acting chair Paul Keim of Northern Arizona University said at the meeting. “We can go back and reverse this if that is the best course of action.”

Add a Comment

Avatar of: You

You

Processing...
Processing...

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. How Gaining and Losing Weight Affects the Body
    Daily News How Gaining and Losing Weight Affects the Body

    Millions of measurements from 23 people who consumed extra calories every day for a month reveal changes in proteins, metabolites, and gut microbiota that accompany shifts in body mass.

  2. That Other CRISPR Patent Dispute
    Daily News That Other CRISPR Patent Dispute

    The Broad Institute and Rockefeller University disagree over which scientists should be named as inventors on certain patents involving the gene-editing technology.

  3. Neurons Use Virus-Like Proteins to Transmit Information
  4. EPO Revokes Broad’s CRISPR Patent
    The Nutshell EPO Revokes Broad’s CRISPR Patent

    Shortly after ruling out the earliest priority dates on a foundational patent for CRISPR gene-editing technology, the European Patent Office rescinded the patent entirely—and more are likely to follow.

AAAS