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Man Made H5N1 - Super Version

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  • #46
    Re: Man Made H5N1 - Super Version

    Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science
    The Risk of Engineering a Highly Transmissible H5N1 Virus
    To cite this article:
    Thomas V. Inglesby, Anita Cicero, and D. A. Henderson. Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science. -Not available-, ahead of print. doi:10.1089/bsp.2011.1214.
    Online Ahead of Print: December 16, 2011

    Thomas V. Inglesby,
    Anita Cicero, and
    D. A. Henderson
    Thomas V. Inglesby, MD, is the Chief Executive Officer and Director; Anita Cicero, JD, is Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Director; and D. A. Henderson, MD, MPH, is a Distinguished Scholar, all at the Center for Biosecurity of UPMC, Baltimore, Maryland. Drs. Inglesby and Henderson are Coeditors-in-Chief of Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science.

    Over the past 8 years, H5N1 avian influenza has sickened 571 people, killing 59% of them. To give some perspective, the fatality rate of the virus that caused the 1918 Great Pandemic was 2%, and that pandemic killed on the order of 50 million people. Like all influenza strains, H5N1 is constantly evolving in nature. But thankfully, this deadly virus does not now spread readily through the air from person to person. If it evolves to become as transmissible as normal flu and results in a pandemic, it could cause billions of illnesses and deaths around the world?the proportion of the global population affected by past pandemics.

    Scientists recently have announced that they genetically modified H5N1 in the laboratory and that this mutated strain spread through the air between ferrets that were physically separated from each other. This is ominous news. Since ferret influenza virus infection closely mirrors human infection and is similarly transmissible, these scientists appear to have created a bird flu strain with characteristics that indicate it would be readily transmissible by air between humans. In fact, the lead scientist on one of the experiments explicitly stated this.

    The question is this: Should we purposefully engineer avian flu strains to become highly transmissible in humans? In our view, no. We believe the benefits of this work do not outweigh the risks. Here's why.

    full text


    • #47
      Re: Man Made H5N1 - Super Version

      Pressrelease NIH/NSABB

      Helen Branswell : article with comments of stakeholders

      U.S. asks journals not to publish details of controversial bird flu studies

      Helen Branswell, Tuesday, December 20, 2011

      The U.S. government is asking scientific journals and two top-flight research teams not to publish details of controversial studies on the bird flu virus, expressing concerns the information could be put to nefarious use.

      The government asked the journals, Science and Nature, to publish only brief reports of the end result of the work, withholding the methods by which the research teams managed to adapt the dangerous H5N1 virus to become easily transmissible.

      Read it on Global News: Global Calgary | U.S. asks journals not to publish details of controversial bird flu studies

      thanks to Crof
      ?Addressing chronic disease is an issue of human rights ? that must be our call to arms"
      Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief The Lancet

      ~~~~ Twitter:@GertvanderHoek ~~~ ~~~


      • #48
        Re: Man Made H5N1 - Super Version

        Snip from a blog

        Should the new flu stay secret? Or does secrecy kill?

        Vincent Racaniello, a virologist at Columbia University, thinks taking this path is a bad idea. Here?s how he put it to me when I sent him the statements:

        It doesn?t make any sense to publish Fouchier?s paper without complete data and experimental details. The point of a science paper is to enable others to duplicate the findings. Are we going to set a new precedent, where security matters override the reason for publication? This is setting a very dangerous precedent for virology and biological sciences in general.

        I disagree with the NSABB recommendations, because they have no scientific basis?one cannot conclude that the mutations selected by Fouchier [the head of the Dutch research team] will have effects on transmission of the virus among humans.

        I understand that if you publish the plans for a nuclear weapon, that may enable a terrorist to make one, but the Foucher finding doesn?t enable anything except more experiments. And that is why the paper should be published ? to allow virologists to extend his findings and determine what controls transmission of H5N1 viruses.

        Often the best experiments are done by scientific unknowns who take an interest in a problem and apply a fresh view. If you restrict dissemination of this information, you are limiting our eventual understanding of the problem.
        ?Addressing chronic disease is an issue of human rights ? that must be our call to arms"
        Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief The Lancet

        ~~~~ Twitter:@GertvanderHoek ~~~ ~~~


        • #49
          Re: Man Made H5N1 - Super Version

          december 20, 2011

          Science: Editor-in-Chief Bruce Alberts on Publication of H5N1 Avian Influenza Research

          Science confirmed today that it has received a recommendation by the U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) to publish only an abbreviated version of a research report related to a strain of H5N1 avian influenza virus. Editors at the journal are considering the request seriously and Editor-in-Chief Bruce Alberts has released a public statement today summarizing the journal?s position.

          On 30 November, the NSABB verbally asked Science to delete details regarding both scientific methodology and specific viral mutations before publishing a research article by Dr. Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Center and colleagues. The written recommendation, provided to the journal on 1 December, expressed concern that publication of the full paper could pose security issues.


          Science has concerns about withholding potentially important public-health information from responsible influenza researchers. Many scientists within the influenza community have a bona fide need to know the details of this research in order to protect the public, especially if they currently are working with related strains of the virus.?

          Science editors are now evaluating how best to proceed.

          ?Our response will be heavily dependent upon the further steps taken by the U.S. government to set forth a written, transparent plan to ensure that any information that is omitted from the publication will be provided to all those responsible scientists who request it, as part of their legitimate efforts to improve public health and safety,? Alberts said.

          read more:
          ?Addressing chronic disease is an issue of human rights ? that must be our call to arms"
          Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief The Lancet

          ~~~~ Twitter:@GertvanderHoek ~~~ ~~~


          • #50
            Re: Man Made H5N1 - Super Version

            Thank you Gert van der Hoek for the link:



            On 20 December, the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) released a statement outlining its recommendations to the authors of the two flu studies under review, and to the editors of the journals that are considering publishing them. The statement says:

            "Due to the importance of the findings to the public health and research communities, the NSABB recommended that the general conclusions highlighting the novel outcome be published, but that the manuscripts not include the methodological and other details that could enable replication of the experiments by those who would seek to do harm. The NSABB also recommended that language be added to the manuscripts to explain better the goals and potential public health benefits of the research, and to detail the extensive safety and security measures taken to protect laboratory workers and the public."

            In response, Nature's Editor-in-Chief Philip Campbell said:

            "We have noted the unprecedented NSABB recommendations that would restrict public access to data and methods and recognise the motivation behind them. It is essential for public health that the full details of any scientific analysis of flu viruses be available to researchers. We are discussing with interested parties how, within the scenario recommended by NSABB, appropriate access to the scientific methods and data could be enabled."

            "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
            -Nelson Mandela


            • #51
              Re: Man Made H5N1 - Super Version

              I think it is wrong to censure this material. The people who have the ability to make a laboratory H5N1 strain are researchers who will be able to see the entire paper anyway.

              So what have we achieved here?

              A huge interest generated by "The Forbidden Fruit".

              A public relations nightmare that has only served to illuminate the existence of this paper.

              This almost guarantees that the very people who the security establishment does not want to have access to this data - will now seek it out - while access to a general body of researchers, who may help find the key to disable H5N1 should it become pandemic, are limited.


              • #52
                Re: Man Made H5N1 - Super Version

                do you think that USA,China,.. didn't know it before ?

                It's an important experiment and not too difficult
                and expensive.
                Maybe Webster&Co did it in 2006 and that's why he said
                half of mankind could die ?!?

                Are there some "secrets" which make it harder for
                others to repeat it ?
                How hard ? Enough to prevent them from doing it ? Hardly.

                The same question will arise later in other labs and other countries.

                Time to intensify our counter-measures
                I'm interested in expert panflu damage estimates
                my current links: ILI-charts:


                • #53
                  Re: Man Made H5N1 - Super Version

                  To me there are some interesting and worrying statements in these reports.

                  The suggestion by some leading researchers that most recent or 'new' h5n1 variant research should be restricted to BL4 labs suggest that currently circulating H5N1 variations are significantly closer to a pandemic status than previously circulating variations; of all people, these researchers are in a position to know. Whilst it limits the volumes of research that can be done, if current forms of H5N1 are intrinsically closer to full adaptation, restricting research of certain types i.e research involving genetic alteration or manipulation of these viruses should be restricted to BL4 Labs.

                  That said, there is plenty of other (very necessary) H5N1 research which should be OK for BL3 labs and be permitted to continue eg. devt of immunoassay tests, immune responsiveness, potential drug candidate assays etc.

                  I worry that in this debate, decisions will be made that do not distinguish between different types of research and the inherent risks associated with that research vs. potential gains.

                  It must not be forgotten that at this time Tamiflu is the only (imperfect) drug intervention we have, and it is prone to development of resistance. In the absence of globally and instantly available vaccines, research must continue to find defensive measures against a pandemic outbreak of this nature.... lest we all get left to our 'natural' fate with a virus with a devastatingly high CFR. I dont think anyone wants that.


                  • #54
                    Re: Man Made H5N1 - Super Version

                    Grudgingly, Virologists Agree to Redact Details in Sensitive Flu Papers

                    by Martin Enserink on 20 December 2011, 2:38 PM

                    Two groups of scientists who carried out highly controversial studies with the avian influenza virus H5N1 have reluctantly agreed to strike certain details from manuscripts describing their work after having been asked to do so by a U.S. biosecurity council. The as-yet unpublished papers, which are under review at Nature and Science, will be changed to minimize the risks that they could be misused by would-be bioterrorists.
                    But the stricken details may still be made available to influenza scientists who have a legitimate interest in knowing them under a new system the journals and U.S. government officials have been actively debating for some time.
                    The two papers have both been reviewed at length by the U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSSAB), and both have been the subject of intense global media attention the past 2 months. They have also triggered debates among scientists, security experts, and officials within various branches of the U.S. government.
                    . . .
                    read more at:
                    to pogge


                    • #55
                      Re: Man Made H5N1 - Super Version

                      Apart the controversial move by US bioterror advisors, I think that our main concern is related to the natural history of H5N1 and its consequence for global health.

                      We are seeing the seasonal spike in human H5N1 cases in Egypt and sooner than later other regions endemic for this virus will experience human infections too.

                      Currently, H5N1 is a widespread zoonosis in Egypt, Bangladesh, Indonesia, China, some India's Regions where overcrowded human communities often are struggling with floods, poverty, malnutrition, other infectious diseases and very poor hygiene.

                      Have we really the need of another Prometheus eagerly awaiting to see to us how his invention may change the world?

                      And have we made an account of the increase in popularity of this novel Prometheus and the Journal that wants to publish his paper?

                      Perhaps, our efforts may be much more needed in control the animal diseases and in developing improved treatment rather than creating chimeric organism with high destructive potential.

                      Science is our best hope for the future but scientists aren't a group outside the world, the ethic and the humanity.

                      Science is not aseptic, it is not a angel's driven heaven of Truth and Salvage. As other field of mankind culture needs to be honest, independent and sober.

                      One small success today may cause a disaster tomorrow.

                      People that are relying on backyard poultry for survival almost surely will have not a single cent from the shareholders of the Prometheus Journal... (IOH)


                      • #56
                        Re: Man Made H5N1 - Super Version

                        strange that you say that just in this context.
                        Who do you think might save us from that
                        H5N1 pandemic , if not science ?
                        I'm interested in expert panflu damage estimates
                        my current links: ILI-charts:


                        • #57
                          Re: Man Made H5N1 - Super Version

                          A Moral Imperative

                          Too often researchers hide behind the cloak of science and claim neutrality when critical bioethical issues arise. Now that the Fouchier team from Erasmus University Medical Center and the Kawaoka team from the University of Wisconsin have succeed in their quest to turn H5N1 into a virulent, human-transmissible virus, they cannot remain neutral. They now have a new categorical imperative. The only ethical path forward for these two groups of researchers is to turn their scientific prowess to the task of emasculating the H5N1 monster that they have just created in their laboratories.


                          • #58
                            Re: Man Made H5N1 - Super Version

                            New York Times interview with Ron A. M. Fouchier, the lead researcher at the Erasmus Center.

                            Security in Flu Study Was Paramount, Scientist Says
                            By DOREEN CARVAJAL

                            Published: December 21, 2011

                            The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, concerned about bioterrorism and a worldwide pandemic, has for the first time ever urged scientific journals to keep details out of reports that they intend to publish on a highly transmissible form of the bird flu called A(H5N1), which has a high death rate in people. Working with ferrets, researchers on the virus at two medical centers ? Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison ? are investigating genetic changes that may make the virus more easily transmittable to people. Doreen Carvajal spoke with Ron A. M. Fouchier, the lead researcher at the Erasmus Center. . . . .

                            full interview at:


                            • #59
                              Re: Man Made H5N1 - Super Version

                              my summary:
                              1.) proof that it can go airborne
                              2.) surveillance of mutations so to concentrate on strains with those mutations to wipe out
                              3.) test and adapt the vaccines and antivirals to that artificial airborne virus

                              started planning 10 years ago, biosafety was a problem
                              Fouchier are continuing the work for 3.)
                              not easy to repeat, sophisticated team and facilities
                              [gsgs: but what, if they use lower biosafety ???]
                              nature is the biggest bioterrorist
                              they think it should be published in detail

                              public health specialists are pro publishing
                              biosecurity experts against
                              I'm interested in expert panflu damage estimates
                              my current links: ILI-charts:


                              • #60
                                Re: Man Made H5N1 - Super Version

                                Too late to contain killer flu science, say experts

                                Attempts to suppress details of the controversial experiments that have created a highly infectious form of bird flu virus are likely to fail, according to scientists familiar with the research.

                                The US government has asked two scientific journals to refrain from publishing key parts of research on the H5N1 strain of bird flu to prevent the information falling into the hands of terrorists intent on recreating the same flu strain for use as a bioweapon.