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H1N1 Spreading Eastward, WHO Says

The H1N1 (swine flu) virus appears to be spreading eastward across Europe and Asia, after appearing to have leveled off in the U.S. and some western European countries, the WHO said Friday, Reuters reports.

Too Early To Declare End Of H1N1 Pandemic, WHO Says

Though there are signs the H1N1 (swine flu) has peaked in the U.S. and Canada, a WHO flu expert said Thursday it is too early to declare the pandemic over, Canadian Press reports. “‘In the Northern Hemisphere, we continue to see an up and down pattern by countries. And so what you see in one country is not necessarily what you are seeing in another country,’ Keiji Fukuda, special adviser to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan on pandemic influenza, said in a teleconference briefing,” the news service writes.

U.S. Science Advisory Board Asks Science, Nature To Omit Data From Bird Flu Studies Amid Security Concerns

The U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity on “Tuesday asked two scientific journals to leave out data from research studies on a lab-made version of bird flu that could spread more easily to humans, fearing it could be used as a potential weapon,” Reuters reports (Steenhuysen, 12/20). The board “recommended that the journals Science and Nature publish only the general discoveries, not the full blueprint for these man-made strains,” the Associated Press notes (Neergaard, 12/20). “Editors at the journals … say they will not agree to the redactions until they are assured the data will be accessible to researchers” according to BBC News (12/20).

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,…