(CIDRAP News) A bleak picture of the world's ability to cope with an influenza pandemic is painted in an essay by infectious-disease and bioterrorism expert Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, in this week's New England Journal of Medicine.
(CIDRAP News) – The battle over dissemination of controversial research on mutant H5N1 avian influenza viruses continued in a flurry of commentaries and media letters in recent days, covering the full range of issues from the potential public health benefits to scientific censorship and the risk of bioterrorist exploitation of the findings.
(CIDRAP News) – The controversy over research about potentially dangerous H5N1 viruses heated up last night in a New York City debate that featured some of the leading voices exchanging blunt comments on the alleged risks and benefits of publishing or withholding the full details of the studies.
(CIDRAP News) – In a leaked letter, a member of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) has charged that federal officials planned the board's meeting in late March in a way designed to lead the board to reverse its earlier recommendation against full publication of two studies describing lab-modified H5N1 viruses with increased transmissibility in mammals.
(CIDRAP News) – A study showing that it takes as few as five mutations to turn the H5N1 avian influenza virus into an airborne spreader in mammals—and that launched a historic debate on scientific accountability and transparency—was released today in Science, spilling the full experimental details that many experts had sought to suppress out of concern that publishing them could lead to the unleashing of a dangerous virus.
(CIDRAP News) – The World Health Organization (WHO) has offered some brief, general guidance on safety and security in research on laboratory-modified H5N1 viruses, mainly stressing that researchers should follow existing guidelines and gain authorization from their governments.
(CIDRAP News) – As leading influenza researchers prepare to meet in New York City next week, several eminent life-sciences authorities are calling for continuation of a moratorium on studies involving lab-modified H5N1 viruses with increased transmissibility, according to a story today in the British newspaper The Independent.
(CIDRAP News) – The head of the US agency that funds much influenza research today called on scientists to continue their voluntary moratorium on certain kinds of potentially hazardous H5N1 research, saying they need to better address public concerns about the studies, according to news reports from a flu meeting in New York City.
(CIDRAP News) – A year-long voluntary moratorium on research involving transmissible H5N1 avian flu viruses ended today with a letter from a group of scientists that supports resuming the work in countries that have addressed the biosafety issues involved.