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WHO to continue discussing bird flu research

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Laaska News  Feb. 18, 2012

Flu experts from around the world have agreed on the need to continue discussing bird flu research in light of possible use by bioterrorists.

The World Health Organization announced the view on Friday after a 2-day emergency meeting in Geneva.

Previously, the US government had asked that details of 2 studies into the infection mechanism of the highly toxic H5N1virus on mammals be withheld from publication because of concern over bioterrorism.

A WHO official told reporters that the participants had agreed that the research is extremely important for preparing for a global pandemic of new influenza and that theses on the subject should be made public.

The official added that a much fuller discussion in the area is needed to prevent the virus from being leaked outside laboratories.

Professor Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Medical Science said the significance of his team’s studies had not been fully assessed. He said discussions were focused on hypothetical situations involving terrorists. Kawaoka is on one of the teams asked to withhold its findings.

The WHO plans to hold another meeting by the summer before reaching a conclusion.


Laaska News.