Research that produced genetically altered bird flu viruses that could pose a danger to people should remain on hold for now. But a panel of experts recommended the details of the experiments should be published.
The highly-anticipated gathering of flu experts has been described as a fact-finding session that will focus on understanding how bird flu studies done at Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands and at the University of Wisconsin were performed and overseen by the relevant authorities.
Scientists working with bird flu recently called a 60-day halt on some controversial experiments. The unusual move has been compared to a famous moratorium on genetic engineering in the 1970s. Key scientists involved in that pause on genetic research disagree on whether today’s furor over bird flu is history repeating itself.
The scientists, journal editors and others who attend are expected to review the facts and the most pressing issues related to this specific work, rather than have a broader discussion about the possibility of international oversight of potentially worrisome biological research.