Navigation Links
TGen-NAU professor leads national panel in precedent-setting policy published in Science and Nature
Date:2/1/2012

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. Feb. 1, 2012 The U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) today published a precedent-setting policy statement warning about the "unusually high magnitude" risk from unrestricted publication of avian flu research.

The NSABB is chaired by Dr. Paul Keim, Director of the Pathogen Genomics Division of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), and a Regents Professor of Biology at Northern Arizona University, and Director of NAU's Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics.

The NSABB statement concerns recent, though as yet unpublished, research that showed how a strain of deadly avian flu virus could be made that is easily transmitted between mammals, including humans. Currently, the highly pathogenic A/H5N1 avian influenza virus though a serious public health concern since its identification in Asia in 1997 rarely infects people, because it is not easily transmitted among mammals.

The NSABB, which represents dozens of government and academic entities, was asked by the federal government to review the research prior to its publication because of its "dual use," meaning its potential for being used for good or bad purposes.

"A balance must be struck between academic freedom and protecting the greater good of mankind from potential danger," Dr. Keim said, quoting from the policy statement.

The NSABB weighed the benefits of the recent research, which could produce greater preparedness and potentially produce novel strategies leading to disease control, against the threat that details of the research could fall into the wrong hands.

"Because the NSABB found that there was significant potential for harm in fully publishing these results and that the harm exceeded the benefits of publication, we therefore recommended that the work not be fully communicated in an open forum," the policy statement says. "We found the potential risk of public harm to be of unusually high magnitude."

The NSABB statement was published online today by the prestigious scientific journals Science and Nature. It will be published in print by the journals later this month.

"Our concern is that publishing these experiments in detail would provide information to someone or some organization or government that would help them develop similar mammal-adapted influenza A/H5N1 viruses for harmful purposes," the statement says. "A pandemic or the deliberate release of a transmissible highly pathogenic influenza A/H5N1 virus would be an unimaginable catastrophe for which the world is currently inadequately prepared."

The statement notes that science is in a revolutionary period of dramatically expanded technological capabilities, enabling the increased ability to manipulate the genetic material of microbes.

"With this has come unprecedented potential for better control of infectious diseases and significant societal benefit. However, there is also a growing risk that the same science will be deliberately misused and that the consequences could be catastrophic," says the statement, which calls for a "rapid and broad international discussion of dual use research policy concerning A/H5N1 influenza virus with the goal of developing a consensus on the path forward."


'/>"/>

Contact: Steve Yozwiak
syozwiak@tgen.org
602-343-8704
The Translational Genomics Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. National Science Foundation grants Clemson professors award to develop nanoprobes
2. University professor stresses links between US Navy sonar and whale strandings
3. Minnesota ecology professor wins international award for biodiversity and biofuels research
4. NJIT professors research suggests changes in underwater data communications
5. 2 Alexander von Humboldt professorships go to LMU Munich
6. Top biophysics award to Professor Ray Norton
7. University of Leicester professor adds new perspective to rainforest debate
8. NJIT professor finds engineering technique to identify disease-causing genes
9. Chemistry professor 1 of only 3 at UH to achieve prestigious AAAS status
10. Florida professor creates endowment for insect scientists
11. Dinner, lecture series to honor legacy of distinguished UH professor
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/20/2016)... Jan. 20, 2016   MedNet Solutions , an ... spectrum of clinical research, is pleased to announce the ... achievements are the result of the company,s laser focus ... eClinical , it,s comprehensive, easy-to-use and highly affordable ... --> Key MedNet growth achievements in 2015 include: ...
(Date:1/18/2016)... , Jan. 18, 2016  Extenua Inc., ... that simplifies the use and access of ubiquitous ... go-to-market partnership with American Cyber.  ... extensive experience leading transformational C4ISR and Cyber initiatives ... integrating the latest proven technology solutions," said ...
(Date:1/13/2016)... ALBANY, New York , January 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... Transparency Market Research has published a new market report ... Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast, 2015 - 2023. According to ... mn in 2014 and is anticipated to reach US$1,625.8 ... from 2015 to 2023. In terms of volume, the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... 2016 , ... PharmApprove announced today the hiring ... for Rare Disorders (NORD). Dorman will lead PharmApprove efforts to work with patients, ... drug regulatory review process. , “Adding Diane Dorman is just the latest in ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... Three-Year Initiative Supports Next Generation of Medical Geneticists and  ... Experiences SHPG ) ... of children born with rare diseases, as well as the future ... a new initiative designed to positively affect the lives of children ... disease care. --> To mark the company,s founding 30 ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... 8, 2016 Should antibiotic bone cement products ... to prevent infection after standard total hip or knee ... ECRI Institute have been fielding a lot lately. ... Bottom Line?" --> "Antibiotic Bone ... --> While there isn,t a simple ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... ... February 08, 2016 , ... Thomas J. Todorow has joined ... President for Corporate Services and the Chief Financial Officer at The Children’s Hospital ... Treasury, Managed Care Contracting, Supply Chain, and Investments. , Prior to joining CHOP ...
Breaking Biology Technology: