Scientists who examined the genetic characteristics of the avian influenza virus H5N1, on the recommendation of the American authorities cut articles about their research to the detailed description of the methods they used did not give a potential bioterrorist to create a new deadly strain of the virus, according to the blog ScienceInsider.
U.S. Department of Health on Tuesday announced that the National Research Council recommended that the U.S. biosafety two scientific groups "not to include in the manuscript methodological and other details that will reproduce the experiments to those who would use them to harm."
Study of two groups — led by Ron Fouche (Ron Fouchier) from the Dutch Erasmus Medical Center and led by Yoshihiro Kavaoka (Yoshihiro Kawaoka) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison — funded by the Institute of Health, Ministry of Health of the structure of the United States. The authors describe how to genetically modify the bird flu virus, that he began to spread easily among laboratory animals — ferrets.
Avian influenza H5N1 epidemiologists considered as one of the most serious threats. Existing strains can not be transmitted from human to human, avian flu can be transmitted only through contact with birds. However, when a strain capable of spread among people, a bird flu pandemic could be almost inevitable.
Biosafety Council considered that the study groups Kavaoka Fouche and give into the hands of potential terrorists a way to make bird flu is much more dangerous for people.
Scientists have already posted an article in two leading scientific journals — Science and Nature — reluctantly agreed to withdraw from the manuscripts of the detailed description of the method of their experiments.
"This is unprecedented," — said one of the group members Fouche Albert Osterhaus (Albert Osterhaus) from the Center of Erasmus, who believes that the best way to ensure the health of people — to make information widely available.
The group also agreed to cut Kavaoka his article, sent to Nature, though scientists believe that the data should be published in full. Currently Kavaoka with the magazine's editors working on a new version of the article.
In turn, the chief editor of Science, Bruce Alberts, said that while he shared the concern of the authorities threat of bioterrorism, it is necessary to create a system to disseminate information that would provide all the data of honest scientists.
According to him, the U.S. government should create a clear plan to create such a system access.
"Many scientists who study influenza virus, need to know the details in order to protect society," — said in a statement editor.
Alberts has already discussed the issue with the Council on Biosafety and other structures, and possibly his proposed plan will be prepared in a couple of weeks.