Journals mull publishing flu virus details
CHICAGO - Reuters
Bird flu virus is deadly in people who are directly exposed to infected birds. AP photoA U.S. scientific advisory board on Dec. 20 asked two medical journals to leave out data from research studies on a lab-made version of bird flu that could spread more easily to humans, fearing it could be used as a potential weapon.
The U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity has asked the journals Nature and Science to publish redacted versions of the studies by two research groups that reportedly created forms of the H5N1 avian flu that could easily jump between ferrets -- typically considered a sign that the virus could spread quickly among humans. Both journals said in separate statements they are working with the advisory board and taking the matter seriously, but they chafed at the notion of scientific censorship.
The bird flu virus is extremely deadly in people who are directly exposed to infected birds, but so far, it has not mutated into a form that can pass easily from person to person.