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J Infect Dis. Clarification Regarding Novel Clostridium botulinum Toxin

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  • J Infect Dis. Clarification Regarding Novel Clostridium botulinum Toxin

    [Source: Journal of Infectious Diseases, full PDF document: (LINK).]

    Clarification Regarding Novel Clostridium botulinum Toxin

    George Korch

    Senior Science Advisor to the Assistant Secretary, for Preparedness and Response, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C.
    Correspondence: George.Korch@hhs.gov

    Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America 2014.

    This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.


    TO THE EDITOR -

    I am writing on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to clarify some matters addressed in the Editorial Commentary (1) accompanying the article "A Novel Strain of Clostridium botulinum That Produces Type Band Type H Botulinum Toxins" by Arnon and colleagues that was published in the same issue (2).

    ln the Notes section, the commentary states, "A committee representing various branches of the US government reviewed and approved submissions of the manuscripts" authored by Drs. Barash and Arnon (2, 3). Most readers of this statement would logically conclude that the US government had read a draft or prepublication version of the manuscript that was ultimately published , and this is not correct. Representatives of the US government were not provided with, and, hence, did not review, these manuscripts. Furthermore, the U.S. government had no authority in this case to grant or withhold approval of submission of the manuscripts and, thus, the government did not “approve” the submission of the manuscript. .

    In addition, the commentary states, "Because no antitoxins as yet have been developed to counteract the novel C. botulinum toxin , the authors had detailed consultations with representatives from numerous appropriate US government agencies (see Notes), as well as the JID editors, and received approval to publish both manuscripts while withholding the key gene sequences until appropriate countermeasures were developed ."

    Again, while members of the U.S. government had occasion to speak with Dr. Amon regarding hi s work, the U.S. government did not approve or disapprove publication of the manuscript nor recommend withholding the gene sequence, nor place any conditions on the publication of the paper.

    Disclosures: The author declares no funding/conflicts of interest.


    References
    1. Hooper DC, Hirsch MS. Novel Clostridium botulinum toxin and dual use research of concern issues. J Infect Dis 2014;209:167.
    2. Barash JR, Arnon SS. A novel strain of Clostridium botulinum that produces type B and Type H botulinum toxins. J Infect Dis 2014;209:183-91.
    3. Dover N, Barash JR, Hill KK, Xie G, Arnon SS. Molecular characterization of a novel botulinum neurotoxin type H gene. J Infect Dis 2014;209:192-202.

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