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Panel Discussion Shows Heated Controversy Over H5N1 Research

“The controversy over research about potentially dangerous H5N1 viruses heated up [Thursday night] in a New York City debate that featured some of the leading voices exchanging blunt comments on the alleged risks and benefits of publishing or withholding the full details of the studies,” CIDRAP News reports. “The debate, sponsored by the New York Academy of Sciences, involved two members of the biosecurity advisory board that called for ‘redacting‘ the two studies in question to delete details, along with scientists who want the full studies published and representatives of Science and Nature, the two journals involved,” the news service adds (Roos, 2/3).

“The panel discussion, which seemed tense from the start, threatened to turn into a shouting match midway through the evening when one panelist lobbed a verbal attack at another,” Scientific American’s “Observations” blog writes. The blog highlights a number of comments made during the debate and references several papers that have been published on the issue (Gorman, 2/3).