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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
- About Us
Flu Experts—and One Ethicist—Debate Controversial H5N1 Papers
16 February 2012 12:06 pm
Exactly how much and which parts of two controversial H5N1 flu studies will be published could be decided today and tomorrow at a meeting in Geneva. The World Health Organization (WHO) has invited 22 experts from around the world to discuss—and debate—whether and how to publish the research, which describes how scientists made the H5N1 avian influenza virus transmissible between ferrets, a common mammalian model for influenza. The meeting is closed to the public and to journalists, and WHO has kept the invite list under wraps until today.
The final list has few surprises and is dominated by influenza specialists. The only real outsider appears to be Jerome Singh, an expert on ethics and health law from the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine at the University of KwaZulu Natal in Durban, South Africa. Singh has studied South Africa's apartheid-era bioweapons program, called Project Coast, which was active in the 1970s and 1980s.
Also present are Ron Fouchier of Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who led the two studies and who want to publish them in full; Paul Keim, acting chair of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB), the panel that recommended leaving key details unpublished; editors from Nature and Science, the two journals that are considering publishing the papers; and representatives from the five WHO collaborating centers for the study of influenza. Three representatives are attending from Indonesia, one of the countries hardest-hit by H5N1. An Indonesian lab reportedly gave Fouchier the virus that he used as starting material. There's one representative of the Vietnamese lab with which Kawaoka collaborates, and from which he reportedly received the flu sample used in his study.