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US board gives green light to publication of bird flu studies it previously blocked

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e2512 (Published 03 April 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2512
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

A US government panel has given two journals the go ahead to publish research on transmission of avian flu. It had previously recommended that the journals withhold publication of the studies for fear that public health would be endangered if they fell into the wrong hands (BMJ 2011;343:d8333, doi:10.1136/bmj.d8333).

In December 2011 the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, which provides recommendations on research publication at the request of the US government, asked the journals Science and Nature to withhold publication of “methodological and other details” of two studies relating to the potential for human to human transmission of the H5N1 virus as an aerosol because “that could enable replication of the experiments by those who would seek to …

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