Bird-flu virus experiments resume
NEW YORK TIMES
Experiments with a deadly flu virus, suspended last year after a fierce global debate over safety, will start up again in some laboratories, probably within the next few weeks, scientists say.
The research touched off a firestorm in 2011 when it became known that two groups, one in the Netherlands and another in the United States, had genetically altered a dangerous bird flu virus to make it more contagious in mammals. Some scientists warned that a deadly pandemic could break out if the mutant virus leaked out of the lab accidentally or if terrorists stole it or made it themselves, using articles in scientific journals for the recipe.
The outcry led scientists conducting the experiments to declare a voluntary moratorium a year ago, in part to let research organizations and governments decide what safety rules to require.
Now, flu researchers say, the moratorium should end because most countries have rules in place. A letter from 40 scientists was published Wednesday in the journals Science and Nature, saying it is time for the work to begin again in countries ready to allow it.