February 21, 2013 |
U.S. health officials announced plans for scientists to move forward with controversial research on the deadly H5N1 bird flu and said that any discoveries about how the virus might gain the ability to spread easily among humans should be shared with other scientists and the public. The new policy, released Thursday by the National Institutes of Health, requires that studies aimed at making the virus more dangerous would now be subject to a heightened level of review. Effective immediately, researchers will have to explicitly delineate the potential science and health benefits - as well as safety risks - involved in their work before they can get government funding, said Dr. Amy Patterson, NIH associate director for science policy.
January 23, 2013 |
Bird flu researchers said Wednesday that they would end a self-imposed moratorium on controversial experiments to determine how the deadly H5N1 virus might mutate and gain the ability to spread easily among humans. In a statement published online by the journals Science and Nature, 40 scientists said they were poised to resume their investigations - but only in countries that have established clear rules for conducting the research safely. The U.S., which is the largest funder of influenza research, is not yet among those nations.
October 10, 2012 |
Virologists making mutated versions of the H5N1 bird flu halted their research in January after a U.S. government advisory panel suggested that their work, though well-intentioned, had the potential to endanger the public . That voluntary moratorium was intended to last 60 days. Nearly nine months later, it remains in place, and scientists are still hashing out if, when and how the research might resume. In a series of essays commissioned this week by mBio, a journal published by the American Society for Microbiology, key players in the controversy set out their thoughts on the matter.
June 22, 2012 |
The upshot of months of controversy over whether to publish research that used the H5N1 avian flu virus -- experiments in which scientists engineered forms of the bug that could spread through the air to infect mammals -- was that scientists got to publish their work in full in a special issue of the journal Science on Thursday. At the same time, the U.S. government and health officials around the world continued to ponder what...
June 21, 2012 |
Scientists have created versions of the H5N1 bird flu that spread easily among mammals through droplets in sneezes and have concluded that it is certainly possible the deadly virus could trigger a global pandemic in humans. Writing in Friday's edition of the journal Science, Dutch researchers laid out for their fellow scientists - and the public - precisely how they engineered bird flu strains that were contagious in ferrets, laboratory animals often used as proxies for people in influenza research.
April 20, 2012 |
The U.S. government will support publication of two controversial research papers, officials said Thursday. The studies report details of experiments in which the deadly H5N1 influenza virus was engineered to pass between mammals, officials said Thursday. The decision, released via a statement by Dr. Francis Collins , director of the National Institutes of Health, lands three weeks after a U.S. government advisory board that had initially recommended against publication of the two studies changed its position after further consideration. Members of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity voted unanimously in favor of publishing a manuscript prepared for the journal Nature by Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. On a 12 to 6 vote, the group also approved publication of another paper, by Dutch virologist Ron Fouchier, in the journal Science.