Bird flu research to be released despite terrorism fears
February 20, 2012
FULL details of experiments that made a deadly flu virus more contagious will be published, probably within a few months, despite US recommendations that some information be kept secret for fear terrorists could use it to start epidemics.
The announcement, made by the World Health Organisation, follows two months of heated debate about the flu research. The recommendation to publish the work in full came from a meeting of 22 experts in flu and public health from around the world who met late last week in Geneva at the organisation’s headquarters to discuss ”urgent issues” raised by the research.
Most of the group felt that any theoretical risk of the virus being used by terrorists was far outweighed by the ”real and present danger” of similar flu viruses in the wild, and by the need to study them and freely share information that could help identify any changes signalling that a virus is developing the ability to cause a pandemic, said Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who represented the United States.