After months of controversy, the World Health Organisation – WHO – has decided to allow the publication of controversial research into bird flu. Scientists in the Netherlands and the United States have made versions of the virus which could potentially spread more easily between humans. There were calls for the research to be kept secret, and WHO indicated earlier this month that this was their preference, but the WHO has decided it is in the public interest to release it.
The disease remains a huge problem in countries from Indonesia to Egypt. When the H5N1 strain of bird flu has been contracted by humans, more than 60 per cent have died, making it one of the most lethal strains of flu ever detected. An expert panel convened by the WHO has decided the research should be published in full. The panel says the research should not be published until it has increased public awareness and understanding and reviewed issues of bio-safety and biosecurity. Read the full article »»»»