March 19, 2013 |
No one knows where the next deadly pandemic flu is likely to emerge. But a new analysis of flu surveillance and other data from a UCLA-led team suggests that coastal and central China and Egypt's Nile Delta might be areas worth watching. UCLA postdoctoral researcher Trevon Fuller and colleagues published their work online on March 13 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal Emerging Infectious Diseases . The thinking behind their research goes something like this: Dangerous influenza outbreaks, including pandemics in 1957 and 1968 that killed around a million people apiece, arise when new, aggressive flu strains arise through a process known as reassortment.
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.