Proposed H5N1 Research Reviews Raise Concerns

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Science  07 Dec 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6112, pp. 1271
DOI: 10.1126/science.338.6112.1271

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Researchers are giving a mixed reception to a draft U.S. government plan to do more stringent funding reviews of certain kinds of H5N1 avian influenza research—and perhaps even require some studies to be kept secret. The proposal, presented last week at a meeting of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, is the latest fallout from the controversy surrounding two studies in which scientists engineered the H5N1 virus and led to a voluntary moratorium on such potentially risky "gain-of-function" studies. The new proposal seeks to help biosecurity experts for funding agencies identify problematic experiments before they begin.