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Nature News Blog: Avian flu controversy comes to roost at WHO

"Almost two dozen experts kicked off a two-day international meeting this morning at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, in a bid to find ways to move forward in the controversy over two studies that have created strains of the H5N1 avian flu virus that are transmissible in ferrets. The meeting may reach some consensus on a few immediate issues, such as what parts of the studies should be published, and who might qualify for access to the full papers on a ‘need-to-know’ basis.

But the narrowness of the expertise of those taking part means that the meeting will not even begin to address the far bigger issue of whether such research should be allowed at all in the future, and if so, how it should safely proceed."

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