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Latest Biosecurity Stories

2012-08-23 01:28:21

Mosquito-borne West Nile virus (WNV) caused 26 deaths already this year, and nearly 700 cases had been reported by mid-August according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). WNV had become "old news" among the public and the media. Furthermore, funding to support research, training and education, and surveillance and vector control had waned. Now there is an urgent imperative to redouble our efforts to understand and control this dangerous virus. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic...

New Virus In Bats May Hold Key To Hendra Virus
2012-08-03 11:30:53

Australian scientists have discovered a new virus in bats that could help shed light on how Hendra and Nipah viruses cause disease and death in animals and humans. The new virus - named 'Cedar' after the Queensland location where it was discovered - is a close relative of the deadly Hendra and Nipah viruses. However, CSIRO's initial studies have discovered one surprising key difference - the Cedar virus does not cause illness in several animal species normally susceptible to Hendra and...

Controversial Bird Flu Research Safe To Publish
2012-04-02 07:42:20

A panel of US science research experts that had previously barred publication of research on key details of a mutant strain of H5N1 bird flu, reversed that decision on Friday, saying two papers on the research are okay to publish after all. The announcement came after Dutch and US scientists made revisions to the research, and after an extensive review by the US National Science Advisory Board for Insecurity (NSABB). The panel opposed publication of the research in December because it...

Bird Flu Research To Remain Unpublished For Now
2012-02-19 05:18:06

A World Health Organization (WHO) panel has ruled that a pair of studies detailing how scientists were able to mutate the H5N1 bird flu virus into a strain that could lead to a global pandemic will not be published in the near future, various media outlets reported on Friday. According to Eryn Brown of the Los Angeles Times, a 22-person panel of experts drafted by the WHO decided to extend a moratorium on the research indefinitely, announcing that scientific journals Nature and Science...

NSABB Publishes Statement Regarding Bird Flu Censorship
2012-02-01 06:39:08

The U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) has explained why it believes the research on H5N1 bird flu should be censored. Two research teams have modified influenza strains to create mutant avian influenza viruses that can be transmitted efficiently between mammals. NSABB said publishing the research in its entirety could potentially cause significant harm to the public. The board said its main concern was that publishing the experiments in detail could...

2012-01-31 09:54:48

American Society for Microbiology publishes special commentaries In response to recent actions of the U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB), which recommended that two scientific journals withhold crucial details in upcoming reports about experiments with a novel strain of the bird flu virus, H5N1, the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) will publish a special series of commentaries by prominent scientists, including the acting chair of the NSABB, weighing in on...

2012-01-23 22:19:39

A Georgetown University Medical Center professor says the voluntary action taken by two research teams to temporarily halt work involving the highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 is “laudable.” In the researchers´ statement, published today by Science and Nature, the authors stated that they “recognize that we and the rest of the scientific community need to clearly explain the benefits of this important research and the measures taken to minimize its possible...

2012-01-19 13:37:30

2 Georgetown professors explore a process needed to avoid the current dilemma faced by 2 scientific journals recently asked by the US government to redact parts of scientific publications deemed to be a biosecurity threat The U.S. government's request that the journals Science and Nature withhold scientific information related to the genetically modified H5N1 virus because of biosecurity concerns does not violate the First Amendment, say two Georgetown University professors. They caution,...

Bird-Flu Scientists Say US Should Not Be Sole Deciders Of Virus' Fate
2012-01-16 13:22:00

Scientists are now saying that the U.S. government should not get to decide who controls the scientific information involving how to make the dangerous bird-flu virus. Ron Fouchier and Ab Osterhaus of Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam have accepted recommendations by the US government's National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity to keep details on how to construct the virus unpublished. "We do question whether it is appropriate to have one country dominate a discussion that has...