Sunday, January 22, 2012

The dreaded flu season...

I am not sure how many of you have heard about this, but I thought it would important to put up a short post on the topic. Scientists have created a new avian flu bug in the lab, termed H5N1. This has raised many concerns, as an escape could lead to a flu pandemic. Also, the strain in the wrong hands could be used as a bioterrorism agent. Nature has published a statement that confirmed a 60 day"pause" from the research (Scientists call for 60-day suspension of mutant flu research). The US government has asked the journals set to publish this research to only include the main conclusions, and not to offer any details. The WHO is working in conjunction with the government to develop a plan to disseminate the information to other flu researchers. During the 60 day period, a series of discussions will be held to explain the benefits and risks of this type of research. While I understand that national security and national health are a concern, I believe that the information be available to scientists in a quick and painless manner. Science hinges upon the sharing of information, and even a 60 day delay could halt the valuable research being performed.

So my readers, it is my time to ask you this: Do you agree with this type of research (i.e. creating potentially lethal strains of bacteria in order to understand it's mechanisms and possibly begin crafting a vaccine)? And do you think the 60 day pause is advisable? Comments are always welcome!


1 comment:

  1. I will support the research of mutated strains of flu and other disease causing organisms/viruses. It is important that we scientist understand how the flu mutates and how that can come about. The knowledge we get from those experiments can bring vaccines and cures to the infected faster and have better treatments readily available to save lives and prevent pandemics. The info and research should not be "paused" but time given in all steps to insure safety and good administrative judgements to come about. The info does need to stay classified to certain flu researchers only and good quarantine procedures made in-case the release happens.