Bird Flu Research Is Urgent, Argues Reseacher

After finding that the H5N1 bird flu virus can be willfully mutated and made communicable, a rare 60-day moratorium on research has been imposed. The study's author argues testing must resume.

What's the Latest Development?


Further restrictions on publishing scientific data gathered in a recent study of the avian bird flu could retard the creation of countermeasures, such as a vaccine, which could fight against a disease pandemic, says Yoshihiro Kawaoka, one of the study's co-authors. While the Dutch-American team which pioneered the research, finding that the H5N1 virus can be willfully mutated to become more communicable, has agreed to a 60-day moratorium on research, Kawaoka insists that the work is urgent and should not be censored.   

What's the Big Idea?

By engineering new bird flu viruses from separate strains, researchers found that more communicable versions could be created naturallyas well as willfully. After the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity objected, fearing that the research could be utilized by individuals with nefarious motives, research has halted and full publication of the results is expected to be restricted to persons on a 'need-to-know' basis. Kawaoka says this will create a bureaucratic burden that will dissuade further research.

Photo credit: shutterstock.com


Related Articles
Playlists
Keep reading Show less

Five foods that increase your psychological well-being

These five main food groups are important for your brain's health and likely to boost the production of feel-good chemicals.

Mind & Brain

We all know eating “healthy” food is good for our physical health and can decrease our risk of developing diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease. What is not as well known is that eating healthy food is also good for our mental health and can decrease our risk of depression and anxiety.

Keep reading Show less

For the 99%, the lines are getting blurry

Infographics show the classes and anxieties in the supposedly classless U.S. economy.

What is the middle class now, anyway? (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs

For those of us who follow politics, we’re used to commentators referring to the President’s low approval rating as a surprise given the U.S.'s “booming” economy. This seeming disconnect, however, should really prompt us to reconsider the measurements by which we assess the health of an economy. With a robust U.S. stock market and GDP and low unemployment figures, it’s easy to see why some think all is well. But looking at real U.S. wages, which have remained stagnant—and have, thus, in effect gone down given rising costs from inflation—a very different picture emerges. For the 1%, the economy is booming. For the rest of us, it’s hard to even know where we stand. A recent study by Porch (a home-improvement company) of blue-collar vs. white-collar workers shows how traditional categories are becoming less distinct—the study references "new-collar" workers, who require technical certifications but not college degrees. And a set of recent infographics from CreditLoan capturing the thoughts of America’s middle class as defined by the Pew Research Center shows how confused we are.

Keep reading Show less