Science writer Carl Zimmer has posted his notes from last night's New York Academy of Sciences "Dual Use Research: H5N1 Influenza Virus and Beyond" panel discussion on his blog The Loom. Zimmer's notes and observations reveal a real split in the science community over whether research on the airborne transmissibility of H5N1 between ferrets should be published or not. At issue is whether the full publication of the research could have dire consequences if it falls into the wrong hands versus the impact potential censorship of science would have on the research community at large.
"The New York Academy of Sciences brought together a group of experts to talk about new virus, and whether self-censorship is a prudent protection or a dangerous precedent. I wasn’t sure what to expect; I was a bit worried it might have turned out to be a fairly dry discussion of how to inspect the hood equipment in virus labs. Instead, we witnessed explosive confrontation between scientists who think we may be facing a world-destroying catastrophe, and others who think our fear of non-existent threats is going to destroy science’s power to help us out of clear and present dangers."
W. Ian Lipkin, MD, Center for Infection & Immunity at Columbia University, moderated the panel discussion with Arturo Casadevall, MD, PhD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and member, NSABB; Laurie Garrett, PhD, Council on Foreign Relations; Barbara R. Jasny, PhD, Science; Veronique Kiermer, PhD, Nature Publishing Group; Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota, and member, NSABB; Peter Palese, PhD, Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Vincent Racaniello, PhD, Columbia University; and Alan S. Ruldolph, PhD, Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
Click "source" to read Zimmer's notes in full.