Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mutant-flu researcher plans to publish even without permission from Dutch Government

Virologist plans to defy Dutch government over export permit requirement for avian flu paper.

Ron Fouchier, a researcher at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, whose work on H5N1 avian flu virus has been at the centre of controversy, says that he is prepared to defy government demands and submit the work to Science without seeking the export permit that the Dutch government says is required.

A government official says that such an action could incur penalties including up to six years' imprisonment.

Fouchier’s paper is one of two reporting the creation of forms of the H5N1 virus capable of spreading between mammals. The other, by Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and his colleagues, has been submitted to Nature.

In December, the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) said that experimental details of the two studies should be redacted from any publications, on the basis of concerns that the information could be used by bioterrorists. Read More