In DepthInfectious Diseases

Controversial flu studies can resume, U.S. panel says

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Science  15 Feb 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6428, pp. 676-677
DOI: 10.1126/science.363.6428.676

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Summary

Controversial lab studies that modify bird flu viruses in ways that could make them more risky to humans will soon resume after being on hold for more than 4 years. Last year, a U.S. government review panel quietly approved two projects previously considered so dangerous that federal officials had imposed an unusual moratorium on the research. One project already has funding from the National Institutes of Health and will start in a few weeks; the other is awaiting funding. The outcome marks the latest twist in a nearly decadelong debate over the risks and benefits of studies that aim to make pathogens more potent or more likely to spread in order to better understand them and prepare defenses.

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