home
RSS
WHO: Bird flu data still on hold
February 17th, 2012
06:27 PM ET

WHO: Bird flu data still on hold

Two studies about a genetically altered strain of H5N1 influenza, a deadly avian flu, should be published in their full form, but not yet, experts at a meeting organized by the World Health Organization concluded Friday.

There has been concern the research on bird flu could be used for terroristic purposes. WHO said in a statement that "understanding of this research through communications and the review of biosafety and biosecurity" issues that the research raises is crucial, but did not say specifically how or when this review will happen.

WHO also said that it would extend the temporary moratorium on research with the laboratory-modified viruses, but research on the avian influenza found in nature must continue for public health protection.

The naturally occuring H5N1 bird flu virus has a high death rate associated with it; 60% of all humans who have been infected have died, said Dr. Keiji Fukuda, assistant director-general of health security and environment for the World Health Organization.

A research group in the Netherlands and a separate group at the University of Wisconsin have each created a mutated version of the H5N1 virus that can more easily transmit from mammal to mammal than the virus found in nature.  They tested the mutated virus on ferrets, which closely mimic the human response to the flu.

The journal Science was going to publish the Dutch paper, and the journal Nature was going to publish the American paper. Both journals decided to refrain from publishing the studies so far.

Concerns about the research were first raised in December, the fear being that a highly transmittable virus could be used in a biological weapon.

The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity said in January that the data could be used to help prepare for a possible outbreak in the future.  However, the board recommended the studies be published without "methods or details" to prevent misuse by terrorists.  Science and Nature jointly released a statement on the matter.

Friday, the World Health Organization said more public health benefit would come from publishing the entire manuscripts than "urgent" partial publishing.  But the WHO is going to continue its assessment of the biosafety and biosecurity aspects first.

"If you just have scientists in the room and no security people, it’s not enough," Science Editor-in-Chief Bruce Alberts said Friday at the American Association for the Advancement of Science  meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.  "The other side of the equation is, what do we know about the ease at which al Qaeda, for example, could actually produce this thing?"

Alberts said the original plan was to publish a redacted version of the papers in the middle of March, but that will not happen in light of the WHO decision. 

"My reading is that both Nature and Science are to wait until we get some further information from WHO and other authorities about when we are to publish the full manuscripts," Alberts said.

Experts say it's important to get this information out about avian influenza to the people doing surveillance, especially in countries like Indonesia that have the biggest problems with this disease.  But considering the risks for terrorism is important, Alberts said.

"Obviously this cannot go on for years," he said.

The best outcome would be the establishment of an international version of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, he said.

There also is talk of other ways to get information to people who need it besides publication of the papers, Alberts said.

For instance, there could be a list of 50 genetic mutations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that could be screened for; the technology for that exists.  That could be done openly because all the mutations of H5N1 that are being kept secret have already been found individually in other viruses.  It's only in combination that these mutations are dangerous.  Alberts suggests a database of these mutations could be available to public health officials in developing countries, for example. 

So where is this secret information?  The Science paper is in a locked electronic file, and everyone who reviewed the papers was told to destroy their copies, Alberts said.  The whereabouts of the Nature paper were not revealed at the American Association for the Advancement of Science  meeting.


soundoff (128 Responses)
  1. Lizeth Steckel

    This was awesome! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusuf-hanafy-82493b183

    May 12, 2021 at 00:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. richard mille replica

    I have a special game for a long time.

    http://platinumprotocol.com/

    May 12, 2021 at 04:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. perfect watches

    Previous: a large color is not a special person.Poker and rock are very good brands.

    https://www.productsr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/the-truth-about-breitling-bentley-replica-watch-bands-ice.html

    May 13, 2021 at 02:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. replicawatches

    A good development project is slow.

    https://vacationadvice101.com/

    May 15, 2021 at 10:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. stornobrzinol

    This is a very good tips especially to those new to blogosphere, brief and accurate information… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article.

    http://www.stornobrzinol.com/

    May 16, 2021 at 12:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Nicolas Kincey

    I don't know about you people but I am obsessed with airplanes. I have a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/08/snl-video-the-pilot-who-was-to-fly-the-hudson-river-flight/

    http://www.washingtonbids.us/washington-contractors/naics-712110-Museums.htm

    May 16, 2021 at 15:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Willis Lochrico

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these second life websites and blogs

    http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2016/09/the-delivery-man.html?showComment=1505104066884

    May 17, 2021 at 06:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Robbie Massaquoi

    I don't know about you people but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/08/taking-a-look-at-an-airline-board-room-the-passenger-perspective-at-alaska-airlines-part-2/

    http://blog.seattlepi.com/airlinereporter/2009/12/09/get-vip-seats-to-the-boeing-787-dreamliners-first-flight/

    May 17, 2021 at 19:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Kory Bleimehl

    I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2011/06/photo-seeing-the-boeing-747-8-intercontinental-from-the-787-dreamliner-mid-flight/

    http://www.pseconline.org/pipermail/reps_pseconline.org/2013-October/000980.html

    May 19, 2021 at 03:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Babette Lysiak

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these Second Life articles and blogs

    http://lostbiro.com/blog/?paged=82

    May 20, 2021 at 02:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Raymond Vahena

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a online game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these second life websites and blogs

    http://myvedana.blogspot.com/2005/09/space-cadets-on-desolation-row.html?m=0

    May 20, 2021 at 19:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Hortense Kracht

    I don't know about you people but I am obsessed with airplanes. I have a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2009/12/united-airlines-first-airline-to-ban-antlers-and-then-un-ban-them/

    http://urlm.co/g/c/f/163870

    May 21, 2021 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Lesley Medici

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a video game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these second life articles and blogs

    http://myvedana.blogspot.com/2009/08/writing-1540.html?m=0

    May 23, 2021 at 03:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. richard mille

    Contact call CALMON 8501.

    http://e-consulenza.nl/richardmille

    May 27, 2021 at 04:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Leopoldo Moe

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a online game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these Second Life websites and blogs

    http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2005/07/in-first-person-alexander-street-has.html

    May 28, 2021 at 04:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Jefferson Sponseller

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a online game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these second life articles and blogs

    http://adolit.blogspot.com/2006/03/ny-times-and-young-black-men.html

    May 29, 2021 at 04:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Kelsie Suganuma

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a online game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these sl websites and blogs

    http://myvedana.blogspot.com/2018/12/who-needs-pockets.html

    May 30, 2021 at 05:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Harland Koloc

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a video game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these Second Life authors and blogs

    http://amusingspace.blogspot.com/2013/09/writing-to-plan.html

    May 31, 2021 at 03:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Monroe Ako

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a video game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these Second Life articles and blogs

    http://myvedana.blogspot.com/2015/03/?m=0

    June 2, 2021 at 22:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. cvv dumps shop

    92252 317527I cant say that I completely agree, but then once more Ive never actually thought of it quite like that before. Thanks for giving me something to think about when Im supposed to have an empty mind whilst trying to fall asleep tonight lol.. 312509

    June 3, 2021 at 11:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Murray Kho

    This was great! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusufhanafy

    June 9, 2021 at 08:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Sanda Weng

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a online game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these second life articles and blogs

    http://54.209.4.192/textbooks/_author/alvermann-9780415892926/weblinks.php

    June 12, 2021 at 15:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Eric Audirsch

    I don't know about you people but I am obsessed with airplanes. I have a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2009/07/entrepreneur-wants-to-create-smoking-only-airline/

    http://www.hotfrog.com/search/mountlake-terrace2Cwa/freight

    June 13, 2021 at 02:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Damien Woolum

    I don't know about you people but I infatuated with airplanes. I have a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2011/02/easyjet-uses-new-paint-to-save-fuel-and-the-world/

    http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2006/03/cyclone-larry-and-diy-reporting-heres.html?m=0

    June 13, 2021 at 16:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Karlene Denafo

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a online game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these second life articles and blogs

    http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2014/08/farewell-to-jack-shallcrass-splendid.html?showComment=1533309140095

    June 14, 2021 at 19:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Margarita Lanpher

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a online game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these second life websites and blogs

    http://beyondnewhorizons.com/2012/08/welcome-to-the-jungle/jungle2/

    June 18, 2021 at 10:50 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.