WHO recommends further delay in journals publishing research on bird flu

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 21 February 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e1284
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Controversial research into a more deadly, laboratory created version of the H5N1 bird flu virus should be published—but not yet, says the World Health Organization.

An expert meeting convened by WHO concluded that the importance of the research to public health outweighed the risk that the deadly form might be used as a biological weapon. Research should continue, and papers that have been held back by Science and Nature because of security concerns should be published (BMJ 2012;344:e1268, 20 Feb, doi:10.1136/bmj.e1268), but public concerns should first be dealt with, said Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s assistant director general for health security and environment, summarising the conclusion of the two day meeting last week.

Last year two teams, one led by Ron Fouchier at Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam and the other by Yoshihiro Kawaoka at …

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