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Ebola Virus explained

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Bird Flu Research That Stoked Fears Is Published

The more controversial of two papers describing how the lethal H5N1 bird flu could be made easier to spread was published on Thursday, six months after a scientific advisory board suggested that the papers’ most potentially dangerous data be censored.

The paper’s publication, in the journal Science, ended an acrimonious debate over whether such results should ever be released. Critics said they could help a rogue scientist create a superweapon. Proponents said the world needed to identify dangerous mutations so countermeasures could be designed.

“There is always a risk,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a telephone news conference held by Science magazine. “But I believe the benefits are greater than the risks.”

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