A Dutch virologist is considering his full range of legal options if his government refuses to lift the restrictions it has put on his controversial bird flu research, and matters could quickly come to a head after a meeting next Monday that will be attended by U. S. observers.
A government advisory committee has reconsidered its advice to keep certain details of bird flu experiments secret.
Revised versions of manuscripts that describe two recent studies can be openly published, the committee now says. The decision could help end a contentious debate that has raged within the scientific community for months.
In response, the editors of two journals immediately said they planned to publish the research soon.
The Obama administration has announced a new policy to handle the risks posed by legitimate biological research that could, in the wrong hands, threaten the public.
The move comes in response to a huge debate over recent experiments on bird flu virus that got funding from the National Institutes of Health. Critics say the work created mutant viruses that could potentially be dangerous for people, or give terrorists a road map for making a bioweapon.