Breaking News: NSABB Reverses Position on Flu Papers

David Malakoff
Science Mag

A U.S. biosecurity advisory panel has reversed course and is recommending that the U.S. government allow full publication of two controversial flu studies.

After spending two days reconsidering the two manuscripts, the 23-member National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) announced today that it now supports publication of the two studies, one in press at Science and the other at Nature, that describe how researchers made the H5N1 avian influenza virus more transmissible between mammals, possibly providing a blueprint for starting a flu pandemic.

Late last year, NSABB’s 23 voting members unanimously recommended that the two teams withhold key details from the publications, sparking a global controversy. A second panel of experts convened by the World Health Organization came to the opposite conclusion, calling for full publication.

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