Scientists pause research with lab-bred bird flu


Lauran Neergaard
The Boston Globe
January 22, 2012

Scientists who created easier-to-spread versions of the deadly bird flu said yesterday that they are temporarily halting more research, as international specialists debate what should happen next.

Researchers from leading flu laboratories around the world signed onto the voluntary moratorium, published yesterday in the journals Science and Nature.

What the scientists called a “pause’’ comes amid fierce controversy over how to handle research that is high-risk but potentially could bring a big payoff. Two labs – at Erasmus University in the Netherlands and the University of Wisconsin Madison – created the new viruses while studying how bird flu might mutate to become a bigger threat to people.

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