It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Bird flu studies OK to publish - U.S. biosecurity expert

page: 1

log in


posted on Apr, 2 2012 @ 08:31 PM

Bird flu studies OK to publish - U.S. biosecurity expert

* Mutated virus less lethal than scientists feared

* Move reflects international politics of flu research

* Journals say they will publish the papers this year (Updates with additional explanations from panel member, new calculation of benefits to surveillance)

..."the data described in the revised manuscripts do not appear to provide information that would immediately enable misuse of the research in ways that would endanger public health or national security."
(visit the link for the full news article)

Related News Links:

Related Discussion Threads:
New research warns of Olympics flu pandemic risk
How to Help Disabled Employees Deal with Emergencies
Native Indian tree Fights Bird Flu
Flu May Boost Alzheimer's Risk

posted on Apr, 2 2012 @ 08:31 PM
After two research projects messed with H5N1 bird flu, debate has been heated:

Censor Science or Not?

Now, the National Security Advisory Committee has approved publication of the bird flu research. However, a new federal US policy "will require federal agencies to perform a careful review of research involving 15 pathogens and toxins that could be used for bioterrorism, including H5N1."

"We have made it clear that the virus is much less lethal than had initially been thought by the NSABB," Ron Fouchier, study author and researcher at Erasmus Medical Center, told BBC News. "We have also added data on how we did this work safely and explained better the benefits of the research with respect to pandemic preparation."

..."New evidence has emerged that underscores the fact that understanding specific mutations may improve international surveillance and public health and safety," the panel said. "Global cooperation, critical for pandemic influenza preparedness efforts, is predicated upon the free sharing of information and was a fundamental principle in evaluating these manuscripts."

Risky Research Review

A new policy will require federal agencies to perform a careful review of research involving 15 pathogens and toxins that could be used for bioterrorism, including H5N1.

The US government yesterday (March 29) announced a new policy to go into effect immediately regarding the regulation of dual-use research, or studies involving any of 15 “high consequence” pathogens and toxins that could be used by bioterrorists to inflict harm, including the H5N1 bird flu that has been the subject of much debate over the past several months, ScienceInsider reported. The policy, currently referred to as the “dual use research of concern” (DURC) policy, will require federal agencies to review all federally funded studies—both proposed projects and ongoing research—on these agents for the potential risks involved.

The following article from The Scientist provides an excellent overview of the science-censorship pros, cons and discussion.

Deliberating Over Danger

The creation of H5N1 bird flu strains that are transmissible between mammals has thrown the scientific community into a heated debate about whether such research should be allowed and how it should be regulated.

The article quoted below outlines deficits in H5N1 flu tracking, surveillance, modelling and related ability to identify potentially pandemic strains.

The state of H5N1 tracking, surveillance and modelling

Four experts have expressed their recommendations on how to improve H5N1 avian influenza monitoring in the field, Nature reports.

* Ducks the 12 year period that they have been surveying poultry, more than 65% of the H5N1 viruses they isolated were from ducks. Yi Guan thinks the fact that H5N1 has remained endemic in parts of southwest Asia is due to the large domestic duck populations found there.

* The Arabian Spring
... the political upheaval has partially blinded the H5N1 overview in the Middle East. Egypt, where H5N1 was reported in domestic poultry in 2006, has suffered gaps in expertise with people moving and due to the general unrest.

* Bird migrations
...Wild bird movements need to be tracked with greater accuracy, and have to be sampled with better methodologies, for in order to account for wild birds’ role in the spread of H5N1 at local and global scales.

* Swine flu
...Coordinating H5N1 surveying with H1N1 surveying would be of mutual benefit to both researchers of swine and bird flu, increasing knowledge of how the virus mutates in different circumstances, an important tool in tracking and modelling disease outbreaks.

NOTE: Many of the mainstream news reports are contradictory - notably, some say the research reports are revised in their approved form, others say they will be published without revision. One of the key issues lies with the fact that the CDC has collected flu samples in the past but NOT shared them with contributing nations like Indonesia, only with industry partners in Big Pharma. Bottom line: If the US withholds data, such nations will withhold samples. ...Sounds fair to me.

On a related note:

News reports from Great Britain continue to insist that the recent H5N1 outbreak in Cork is NOT the highly pathogenic strain - and no fears, the nation's poultry is perfectly safe to eat.
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Apr, 2 2012 @ 10:23 PM
The one thing that has bothered me since the beginning was how could they create and approve a vaccination only a week after the virus was discovered.

I always thought they would have to put the vaccine through clinical trials.
edit on 2-4-2012 by Frankenchrist because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 2 2012 @ 11:25 PM
reply to post by Frankenchrist

H5N1 bird flu vaccines have been tested for years - and poultry is vaccinated routinely against H5N1. What counts is the strain - the available vaccines do not work on the new wild strains, and neither do the stock anti-virals.

...Countries like Indonesia where H5N1 is endemic (in the soil, water, flies, rats and who knows what else) are desperate for a vaccine or anti-virals that work. Fouchier's and Kawaoka's research would bypass Big Pharma and go straight to the regions that might benefit - which is more likely the real reason there's a call for censorship, not "dual-use."

Another good article on the topic, from the BBC:

H5N1 bird flu research to be published in full

The decision of the US panel will be broadly welcomed by leading science bodies, but the issue raises important questions as to when it may be right to censor science which has the potential both to help and harm mankind.

edit on 2/4/12 by soficrow because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 2 2012 @ 11:52 PM
The rationale for censorship of scientific information has not changed much since the times of Galileo, Copernicus et al. Historically, science has been routinely censored to protect the status quo; the argument has been that such censorship is necessary to "protect the economy," or peoples' "delicate sensibilities" or some other such nonsense like "preventing terrorism."

...My favorite is the myth that female birds are almost always monogamous - when in truth, female promiscuity in birds has been evident to anyone watching, pretty much since the dawn of time. But starting with Darwin, in Victorian England, biologists have been insisting that over 90% of bird species are monogamous. Pure bs - and you have to know these guys were out in the field and perfectly aware what was in front of their eyes. So why lie? Why keep lying?

Ninety-one percent of bird species are apparently monogamous (Darwin 1871;. Lack 1968).

Did you know that monogamy in birds has traditionally been reported at better than 90 percent, but that recent DNA research has revealed a very different picture of the avian world?

Victorian values and the censoring presence of his prudish daughter blinded Charles Darwin to female promiscuity and delayed the study of sperm competition for 100 years

...Why did Darwin ignore the evidence and why did it take a century for others to make the connection?

The attempts to censor H5N1 bird flu research have been out in the open - but only because the research was already released in a public conference months before the bad guys tried to clamp down. Other forms of censorship are more common.

For example, industry routinely funds studies to question the validity of evidence showing that pollution causes chronic disease like cancer, asthma and heart disease - and muddy the waters. ...Scientists dependent upon industry for their funding may not be happy to tow the corporate line, but tow it they do.

Numerous new diseases have been linked to GE crops - but somehow, the proof is never enough.

For a while, microbiologists were dropping like flies - often due to suicide by multiple gunshot wounds. And then there's this one: 'Faster than light' scientist steps down.

Just sayin'.

edit on 2/4/12 by soficrow because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 3 2012 @ 11:19 AM
I wrote about this previously here:

Big Bucks Biowarfare

I think that this needs to be kept a clsoe eye on; in my opinion in the next couple of years we are going to see the biggest outbreak since the plague and not only is it is going to be man made, I believe people are actively pursuing it to make a profit.

Its weird how you have just posted this, I came across some more information last night from another source which ties in with my theories and have just gotten permission to use it when I read this.

posted on Apr, 3 2012 @ 04:27 PM
reply to post by carlitomoore my opinion in the next couple of years we are going to see the biggest outbreak since the plague and not only is it is going to be man made, I believe people are actively pursuing it to make a profit.

I usually minimize the bio-terrorist threat to make the point that nature is a better equipped bio-lab than any that man can make - plus, nature not only is perfectly capable of creating deadly mutations but doing so as we speak.

That said, I'm afraid I agree with you. It'll be done for profit, power and to "deal" with "overpopulation."

posted on Apr, 3 2012 @ 10:06 PM
CIDRAP published a comprehensive update on the situation.

Major players weigh implications of NSABB H5N1 reversal

A federal advisory board's reversal on publishing two controversial H5N1 studies is poised to shift discussions on the topic that continue in London this week, as more participants in the debate weigh in following the Mar 30 announcement.

...One of the factors that swayed the NSABB decision was new evidence that an understanding of the mutations could be useful for surveillance and public health standpoints, the group said in a statement announcing the vote, but it did not elaborate.

...At a press conference today before tomorrow's start of a Royal Society conference on H5N1 research issues in London, Fouchier, speaking alongside Keim, said his group's revised paper included new epidemiologic evidence that spells out the benefits of the research, Discover Magazine reported today. ...

He said the revised paper clarifies that the airborne viruses weren't lethal to the ferrets and includes an expanded discussion, based on more space allotted by Science, of the work's public health benefits, according to the Discover story.

...The 2-day Royal Society discussion will be webcast live, and participants will include Fouchier, Kawaoka, a host of internationally recognized H5N1 researchers, a representative from the NSABB, biosecurity experts, dual-use research experts, editors from Nature and Science, along with participants from public policy, vaccine research, funding, and journalism fields.

new topics


log in