Biosecurity advisory board reverses decision on ‘engineered bird flu’ papers

Washington Post | March 30, 2012

Two scientific papers that describe experiments with a virulent and contagious bird flu virus should be published in uncensored form, a committee of scientists advising the federal government said Friday.

That recommendation by the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity reverses one the committee made in January, when it asked two journals, Science and Nature, to hold off publishing studies about the lab-engineered strains of the H5N1 influenza virus.

The about-face came after the heads of the research teams — one Dutch, the other American — clarified their work and provided new information on its possible importance at a two-day meeting of the committee in Washington.

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