The debate continues about two papers that resulted in H5N1 influenza strains that are more easily transmissible between mammals and may have the potential to trigger a pandemic. Last month, the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) recommended that key details be redacted from the studies, which are under review at Nature and Science. Some say that's a blow to scientific freedom; others argue the studies should never have been done in the first place.
This week, we'll talk about the benefits and risks of the H5N1 transmissibility studies and whether they should be published in full. Also on the table: Should experiments that could help aspiring bioterrorists be more tightly regulated—and if so, how? Our guests are two influenza experts, including a member of the NSABB.
Join us for the live chat at 3 p.m. EST on Thursday, 12 January, on this page. You can leave your questions in the comment box below before the chat starts.
Michael T. Osterholm
Michael Osterholm, an expert on influenza and biodefense, is director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota. He is also a member of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, the panel that recommended redacting the two papers on H5N1.
Andrew S. Pekosz
Andrew Pekosz is a virologist at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore who works with influenza A and other respiratory viruses. He studies how new virus particles are assembled and how viruses evade immunity in their hosts.