No way of stopping leak of deadly new flu, says terror chief

Wednesday, February 8, 2012
By Paul Martin

US biosecurity board expert warns against details of H5N1 bird flu getting into wrong hands

STEVE CONNOR
INDEPENDENTUK
WEDNESDAY 08 FEBRUARY 2012

The bioterrorism expert responsible for censoring scientific research which could lead to the creation of a devastating pandemic has admitted the information “is going to get out” eventually.

Professor Paul Keim, chairman of the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, controversially recommended that researchers be stopped from publishing the precise mutations needed to transform the H5N1 strain of birdflu virus into a human-transmissible version.

In an exclusive interview with The Independent, he argued it had been necessary to limit the release of the scientific details because of fears that terrorists may use the information to create their own H5N1 virus that could be spread easily between people.

Professor Keim said that it was necessary to slow down the release of scientific information because it was clear that the world is not yet prepared for a strain of highly lethal H5N1 influenza that can be transmitted by coughs and sneezes.

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