Bird Flu Studies to Go Public Over Bioterror Fears

US warns of risk, but scientists say flu is bigger danger
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2012 6:06 AM CST
WHO: Bird Flu Research Can Be Published
In this photo taken Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012, a Hmong ethnic women sells chickens at a Dong Van market in Ha Giang province, Vietnam.   (AP Photo/Na Son Nguyen)

Two months after leading science journals decided to self-censor articles about experiments to alter the bird flu virus and make it more dangerous, the WHO is recommending the journals publish the research after all, reports the New York Times. Well, publish it some time. The moratorium is in place for now, but WHO panel agreed that the research should be published in the future, probably in a few months, after further discussion of biosecurity and biosafety. The US opposes the move because it fears terrorists could use the information if made public.

“The group consensus was that it was much more important to get this information to scientists in an easy way to allow them to work on the problem for the good of public health,” said a US health official of the WHO recommendation. The editor-in-chief of Science said the magazine will not published a redacted version of the article in March, as had been planned. "Certainly that's now not going to happen," he said in Science. The journal will likely hold off until it gets final approval to publish the full article. (Read more H5N1 stories.)

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