In DepthItaly

Police claim leading flu researcher illegally sold virus

Science  05 Sep 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6201, pp. 1105-1106
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6201.1105

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Summary

In an unpublished report that is the culmination of 10 years of investigation, Italian police claim that a "criminal organization," which included scientists, company executives, veterinarians, and government officials, has colluded to profit financially from Italy's battle with avian influenza. Among other things, the report claims that the members of the organization smuggled influenza viruses into Italy, sold viruses illegally, produced and sold an illegal vaccine, and attempted to spread avian influenza to create a market for the vaccine. Among the accused is Ilaria Capua, a prominent scientist who is now a member of the Italian Parliament; Capua denies the charges. A prosecutor must now decide whether to bring the case to trial.

  • * Laura Margottini is a science writer in Rome. With reporting by Martin Enserink.

  • in Rome