Navigation Links
Controversial Bird Flu Research to Resume
Date:1/23/2013

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- An international moratorium on bird flu research, instituted a year ago by researchers because of concerns that a mutated form of the virus could fall into the wrong hands, has been lifted.

In a letter published Jan. 23 in the journals Nature and Science, the 40 scientists who first agreed to halt any study of the H5N1 flu virus until safety guidelines were established now say that labs in countries that have since established such measures can resume their work.

However, the United States is not one of those countries, so any bird, or avian, flu research there is still on hold, the group said.

"It is believed that all of the conditions the moratorium was initially installed to meet have been met," Ron Fouchier, of the department of virology at Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands, said during a Wednesday news conference on the decision to lift the ban. "In our opinion, in those countries where research can be done safely, research should restart.

"The risk of this information in the manuscripts being misused by malicious people would be very, very small, if not negligible," Fouchier added.

Fouchier said his lab would not be restarting experiments immediately, but that "certainly it will not take months to start. Probably in the next few weeks."

Ending the moratorium is necessary for public health reasons, those scientists who signed the letter stated.

"We believe this research is important to pandemic preparedness," said Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. "Our research to understand how avian viruses adapt to mammals will lead to better surveillance and vaccines... The greater risk is not doing research that could help us to be better equipped to deal with a pandemic."

The furor started in December 2011, when concerns that research into a genetically mutated form of bird flu could escape from labs or fall into the hands of bioterrorists. This prompted U.S. scientific advisers to ask Nature and Science to withhold key details of the groundbreaking research conducted by Kawaoka and Fouchier.

So far, the so-called avian flu strains have rarely been transmitted from birds to humans. But the genetically modified virus that was created by scientists in the United States and Holland has been more transmissible in animal experiments, potentially setting the stage for a deadly pandemic among humans.

Last April, the U.S. government gave the go-ahead for publication of two controversial studies, led by Kawaoka and Fouchier.

The research revealed that as few as five mutations are enough to make the H5N1 avian flu virus transmissible via airborne droplets between ferrets, considered one of the best animal models to study flu and its impact on humans.

In countries where research will resume, some of the tighter standards will include strict bio-safety guidelines for the laboratories where such research is conducted. Scientists have also signed documents affirming that they will not share the mutated virus with other parties without permission of the funder.

In addition to the Netherlands, Canada is poised to start research again, although discussions are still under way in Japan, Kawaoka said.

Kawaoka said he did not know when research might begin again in the United States.

"The U.S. has been unclear in how long it would take," Fouchier added. "If the U.S. would have said at the National Institutes of Health meeting in November of last year that it would take another three months, we probably would have waited. But we did not get that answer."

"It may take one, two, three years," he continued. "Many countries do this research. Should all countries really wait for the U.S., and why?"

Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the United States has "done as much as we can as far as addressing the concerns." He said a system for evaluating the safety of proposed H5N1 transmission research in mammals, up for public comment this month, should allow federally funded research within weeks, USA Today reported.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on the avian flu.

SOURCES: Jan. 23, 2013 news conference with Ron Fouchier, Ph.D., department of virology, Erasmus Medical Center, the Netherlands and Yoshihiro Kawaoka, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison; Science; Nature; USA Today


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. U.S. Gives Green Light to Publish Controversial Bird Flu Research
2. Controversial vaccine trial should never have been run in India, researchers say
3. Supreme Court Backs Much of Controversial Health Reform Law
4. Stopping Controversial Asthma Drugs Could Have Downside: Study
5. Controversial Alternative Heart Treatment Shows Hint of Benefit
6. UCLA Brain Injury Research Center gets NCAA funding for research on sports concussions
7. NIH awards $20 million over 5 years to train next generation of global health researchers
8. Researchers develop a new cell and animal model of inflammatory breast cancer
9. Researchers uncover a viable way for colorectal cancer patients to overcome drug resistance
10. Sexually abused boys at risk for more unsafe sex: UBC research
11. Researchers Find Gene Mutations That May Be a Key to Autism
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Controversial Bird Flu Research to Resume 
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... The preeminent surgical aftercare facility Pearl Recovery Retreat ... cancer surgery. In March 2016, the 61-year-old model and reality TV star was diagnosed ... in the milk ducts, according to an interview with the Daily Mail Online ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... , ... Warren L. Smith M.D. , There is a new tool in ... since the beginning of recorded medical history, and in spite of all the antibiotics ... a matter of inconvenience; bladder infections cost us billions of dollars annually in lost ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... Over 40 athletic trainer’s (ATs) ... state capitol for the annual “Hike to Harrisburg” advocacy day. The annual lobbying ... Group, PATS lobby Group. The goal for the day was to educate the ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... Safety ... global construction firms representing the Construction Industry Safety Initiative (CISI) and the Incident ... purpose: to inspire everyone in the industry to be leaders in safety. Statistics ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... May 03, 2016 , ... In April, Amerec launched a new ... to help find the best steam and sauna solutions. , First, the Amerec website ... This improvement brings all of the site’s features, especially the Steam Builder Tool ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/3/2016)... 2016 Global Insulin Needles ... 09 key companies and supported with 272 tables ... study on the current state of the Insulin ... industry including definitions, classifications, applications and industry chain ... for the international market including development history, competitive ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... 2016  As a teenager, an active and athletic ... damaged his heart. He continued enjoying sports and recreation ... Shepherd,s heart was giving out and he was a ... 2013, the Mesa, Arizona resident ... a heart transplant, the SynCardia TAH-t is the only ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... OSWEGO, Ore. , May 3, 2016   ... the importance of extending care beyond the implant at ... Sessions, May 4-7 in San Francisco ... with continually delivering the highest quality of patient care ... patients are cared for each and every tomorrow," said ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: