Scientific Journals Plan to Publish Controversial Bird Flu Research After NSABB Reverses Previous Decision

Posted on April 1, 2012

NPR reports that researchers now plan to publish research that explains how they created strains of the H5N1 bird flu virus in the lab that can infect ferrets and become transmissibile in ferrets. The editor-in-chiefs of Nature and Science both plan to publish the research.

The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB), a panel advising the U.S. government, initially opposed open publication of the research in 2010. The NSABB has now reversed its decision following a WHO panel's support for openly publishing the research. The approval statement released by the NSABB refers to the research as "revised manuscripts," so the research paper approved is not exactly the same as the originals.

The research, which took place in the Erasmus Medical Center, was headed by Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a Professor of Virology at the University of Wisconsin. A release on the Erasmus website says a final decision on the publication of the article has to be made by the U.S. government before it is published in the journal, Science.

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