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Yearlong Moratorium On H5N1 Research Soon Lifted, New Rules Implemented, Science Reports

“U.S. government officials say they expect to put the finishing touches this month on new rules designed to help funding agencies identify and regulate especially problematic H5N1 studies before they begin,” which would allow influenza researchers “to lift a year-old, self-imposed moratorium on certain kinds of potentially dangerous experiments,” Science reports. “The two developments would essentially end a long and bruising controversy over the risks and benefits of H5N1 research,” the magazine notes, adding the debate was initiated by two research teams that lab-engineered H5N1 strains to be transmissible among mammals. “The issue has been especially sensitive for the U.S. government, because its National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded the two studies and is one of the world’s biggest funders of H5N1 research,” Science writes. The magazine discusses the moratorium’s impact on research worldwide and summarizes differing views about its effects (Malakoff, 1/4).

New Strain Of Avian Flu Kills Two Chinese Men, Officials Say

“Two people in China have died and another remains critical after falling ill with a strain of bird flu not detected before in humans, the official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported,” CNN reports (Mullen, 4/1). “The authorities said the two Shanghai men, 27 and 87 years old, fell ill after contracting…

More Information Needed About New Strain Of Bird Flu In China

In a Foreign Policy opinion piece, Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, recounts recent events in China, including the discovery of hundreds of dead pigs, ducks, and geese in rivers and the diagnosis of several human cases of a new strain of avian influenza,…

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Address Emergence Of New Bird Flu Strain In China

The following is a summary of two opinion pieces and an editorial written in response to reports of a new strain of bird flu — H7N9 — emerging from China. Peter Christian Hall, Reuters’ “The Great Debate”: “Memories of China’s repression of news during its tumultuous 2002-03 SARS outbreak could…

Journalists, Experts Discuss China’s Response To H7N9 Outbreak

In a conversation in the ChinaFile blog, David Wertime, co-founder and co-editor of Tea Leaf Nation, an English-language online magazine that analyzes Chinese social media, speaks with Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations; journalist Isabel Hilton; Donald Clarke, a professor at the…

WHO Considers Sending Experts To China As Death Toll From H7N9 Virus Hits 7

The WHO “is talking with the Chinese government about sending international experts to China to help investigate a new bird flu strain that has sickened at least 24 people, killing seven of them,” the Associated Press reports. “A 64-year-old retired man in Shanghai became the latest victim of the H7N9…