News & AnalysisBird Flu Controversy

Does Forewarned = Forearmed With Lab-Made Avian Influenza Strains?

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Science  17 Feb 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6070, pp. 785-787
DOI: 10.1126/science.335.6070.785


In the debate over whether journals should publish the full details of how two labs engineered the deadly avian influenza strain H5N1 so that it spreads more easily among ferrets, and presumably humans, proponents of full disclosure, including the researchers who conducted the work, contend that knowing the genetic signatures of these potentially devastating viruses might prove pivotal to shoring up surveillance measures and controlling an emerging threat. Those in the other camp worry that if published, that data could provide a recipe for bioterrorists to unleash a doomsday scenario.

  • * With reporting by Dennis Normile.

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