Health experts, scientists to discuss bird flu studies

February 10, 2012

The World Health Organization said Friday it will meet next week to determine whether scientists can publish research on a bird flu virus that may be easily passed among humans.

The two-day discussion will relate to research on a mutation of the that halted on January 20 citing fears of the devastation it could wreak were it to escape the laboratory.

According to WHO, avian influenza H5N1 is primarily transmitted between birds, and very rarely to humans.

Two separate teams of researchers, one in the Netherlands and the other in the United States, found ways late last year to engineer the H5N1 virus so that it is transmitted among mammals, something that has been rare.

The breakthrough raised alarm that the method could fall into the wrong hands and unleash a massive that could cost millions of lives.

A US advisory panel in December urged that key details remain unpublished.

WHO said it will hold a technical meeting on Wednesday and Thursday on the specific circumstances and results of the two studies.

"There will be 22 participants: two teams of researchers, representatives of the influenza laboratory network and representatives of the scientific newspapers Science and Nature" said WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib.

They will try to reach a consensus about practical actions to resolve the most urgent issues, particularly those related to access to and dissemination of the results of this research, WHO said.

Explore further: Bird flu researchers agree to 60-day halt (Update 2)

Related Stories

Bird flu researchers agree to 60-day halt (Update 2)

January 20, 2012
International scientists on Friday agreed to a temporary two-month halt to controversial research on a bird flu virus that may be easily passed among humans, citing global health concerns.

WHO 'deeply concerned' by mutant bird flu

December 31, 2011
The World Health Organization (WHO) said it was "deeply concerned" about research into whether the H5N1 flu virus could be made more transmissible between humans after mutant strains were produced in labs.

Indonesia reports second bird flu death this year

January 20, 2012
Indonesia on Friday reported its second human death from bird flu this year, with the death of a five-year-old girl who recently lost her relative to the deadly virus.

Recommended for you

Google searches can be used to track dengue in underdeveloped countries

July 20, 2017
An analytical tool that combines Google search data with government-provided clinical data can quickly and accurately track dengue fever in less-developed countries, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

MRSA emerged years before methicillin was even discovered

July 19, 2017
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) emerged long before the introduction of the antibiotic methicillin into clinical practice, according to a study published in the open access journal Genome Biology. It was ...

New test distinguishes Zika from similar viral infections

July 18, 2017
A new test is the best-to-date in differentiating Zika virus infections from infections caused by similar viruses. The antibody-based assay, developed by researchers at UC Berkeley and Humabs BioMed, a private biotechnology ...

'Superbugs' study reveals complex picture of E. coli bloodstream infections

July 18, 2017
The first large-scale genetic study of Escherichia coli (E. coli) cultured from patients with bloodstream infections in England showed that drug resistant 'superbugs' are not always out-competing other strains. Research by ...

Ebola virus can persist in monkeys that survived disease, even after symptoms disappear

July 17, 2017
Ebola virus infection can be detected in rhesus monkeys that survive the disease and no longer show symptoms, according to research published by Army scientists in today's online edition of the journal Nature Microbiology. ...

Mountain gorillas have herpes virus similar to that found in humans

July 13, 2017
Scientists from the University of California, Davis, have detected a herpes virus in wild mountain gorillas that is very similar to the Epstein-Barr virus in humans, according to a study published today in the journal Scientific ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.