WHO Group Keeps Lid On Bird Flu Lab Results – For NowPublished on 17 February 2012 @ 11:53 pm
Intellectual Property Watch
A group of public health experts gathered by the World Health Organization agreed today to continue a temporary moratorium on research done on the H5N1 bird flu virus modified in a laboratory to be more transmissible between mammals. But they said research should continue on the naturally occurring version of the virus.
The closed door meeting took place at WHO on 16-17 February.
Concern arose recently when it became known that research groups in the Netherlands and the United States have â€œcreated versions of the H5N1 influenza virus which are more transmissible in mammals than the H5N1 virus that occurs naturally,â€ as WHO put it, leading the health agency to convene the group.
The group consisted of various interested parties â€“ including the researchers, the funders of the research, publications that want to profit from publishing the research, the countries that provided the viruses, bioethicists, and directors from several WHO â€œcollaborating-center laboratories specializing in influenza,â€ WHO said. Publication of the manuscripts of the research will be delayed.
More meetings will be held in the future. It is expected that they will agree to publish the research later this year, according to sources.