‘Science’ editor says he plans to publish controversial H5N1 avian flu study in defiance of government recommendations
by: Ethan A. Huff
Friday, February 24, 2012
For the past few months, the journals Nature and Science have been deliberating with both the research community and the U.S. government about how to handle the publishing of sensitive information about a militarized strain of H5N1 avian flu. The U.S. National Security Advisory Board for Biotechnology (NSABB), a group of scientists and government security officials, had recommended that the journals redact certain portions of the research several months ago, but Dr. Bruce Alberts, editor of Science, now says, in essence, that he is tired of waiting for a solution, and plans to publish the full findings very soon.
It was widely reported last fall that Dr. Ron Fouchier and his colleagues from Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands had successfully created a virulent strain of H5N1 capable of transmitting between mammals, including between humans. The research, which was submitted to both Nature and Science for publishing, includes critical details about how the deadly strain was created, which many say represents a serious bioterrorism threat if it ends up in the wrong hands