Whether or not the H5N1 viruses currently circulating in the world can easily acquire the additional mutations needed to cause a pandemic is an open
question, according to Kawaoka: "It is hard to predict. The additional mutations may emerge as the virus continues to circulate."
After Epic Debate, Avian Flu Research Sees Light of Day
The debate for releasing this information has been going on for a while, because of the information contained could be used by 'terrorists', for it
contained sensitive information in regards to particular methodologies that could be used to mutate the virus.
In December 2011, a National Institutes of Health advisory panel, the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB), recommended redacting
critical information from the Kawaoka lab's report, as well as from a similar study conducted in Holland. The unprecedented request was to withhold
the methodologies used to make the virus transmissible and to not identify the mutations needed to make the virus transmissible in mammals. This
month, the NSABB reversed itself, citing new information and manuscript revisions that more explicitly state the public health rationale for the work
as well as the safety and security precautions in place in the labs in Wisconsin and Holland.
I remember when I first read about this.. I had mixed emotions as to if I agree with them suppressing the information or not. Now that the geenie is
out of the bottle, we'll just have to wait and see what comes of it.