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Media Outlets Continue To Publish Expert Opinion Regarding H5N1 Bird Flu Research

The PBS NewsHour blog “The Rundown” features excerpts from interviews with three experts discussing the recent debate over research conducted on the H5N1 bird flu virus. “What began as a question on whether scientific journals should publish the complete research has grown into an argument on whether to conduct these studies, and others like them, at all,” according to the blog, which features quotes from Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers; Vincent Racaniello, a microbiologist at Columbia; and Carl Zimmer, a science journalist and author (Pelcyger, 1/30).

CIDRAP News reports on the issue, saying “a flurry of commentaries and media letters [were published] in recent days, covering the full range of issues from the potential public health benefits to scientific censorship and the risk of bioterrorist exploitation of the findings.” The news service summarizes the pieces, noting, “The controversy focuses on research reports under review at Science and Nature, both of them dealing with mutant H5N1 viruses that can spread among ferrets by the airborne route” (Roos, 1/30).