Decision Awaited on Deadly Bird Flu Virus

The WHO has called for a meeting in Geneva on the 16th and the 17th of February to decide on what to do with the research findings of scientists who have found how to mutate H5N1 bird flu viruses that could lead to a human pandemic.

Common belief of the experts is that, no matter what is decided in the meeting , how much censorship is forced or even if you shut down the research projects, if rouge scientists want to create and release a pandemic, they will.

This meeting is to decide whether the two studies should be published and made available for other scientists. U.S Bio security chiefs want the works to be censored before the scientific journals publish them.

The event will be extremely private and secretive as the matter is delicate. The two studies from Netherlands and the United States say that a small amount of mutation is all that takes to allow H5N1 to spread among mammals like ordinary flu. That would have deadly consequences.

The United Nations health body is very concerned about the underlying risk in such research continuing to happen. More than 30 research teams from around the world suspended work for a period of 60 days from Jan 20th on any research involving highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 viruses that might produce contagious viruses.

Among the 22 people called for the meeting are the researches who carried out the research, the editors of Science and Nature publications who were about to publish it, representatives from the U.S National Science Advisory Board for Bio security.

The key aim of the meeting would be come to a conclusion on whether the studies should be published and if so in full or parts and who should have access to it.

Scientist around the world feel that, even if adding and deleting genes puts the world at the risk of a deadly pandemic, these researches are very important in developing new and effective vaccines and diagnostic tests in case a outbreak does happens. They also stress on how important it is to know how far we are from an event like that.

The best proposed solution is that we monitor how the researches are conducted and how the information is made available for others.

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