Research on potential of bird flu virus to spread between humans is finally published

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 04 May 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3233
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1London

Controversial research about a strain of avian flu that could potentially spread between humans has been published in Nature. It had been withheld from publication for five months after US advisers said that it posed security risks. A second paper is expected to appear soon in Science.

An editorial in Nature concludes that the lessons for publishers from the months of deliberations and meetings among scientists, security agencies, research journals, ethicists, and others is that “where there is a benefit to public health or science, publish!”1

A report of the research by a team from the University of Wisconsin-Madison was submitted to Nature in August last year, but publication was delayed after the US government’s biosecurity advisers warned that public health could be endangered if the trial’s methods fell into the wrong hands. …

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