Recently, we and others obtained experimental evidence that highly pathogenic avian influenza virus subtype H5 can acquire the ability to transmit via aerosols between ferrets. Upon submission of manuscripts describing the results of these studies, the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity was consulted and recommended that the main Conclusions of the work be published but without the experimental details and mutation data that would enable replication of the experiments. Over the past few months, these events have led to intense discussions. Should this type of experiment be conducted? If so, under what conditions? Do the scientific and public health benefits of the work and its publication outweigh the potential risks? In February 2012, public health and influenza experts discussed these issues during a World Health Organization-organized technical consultation. This perspective article reviews the current state of the field and the recommendations made during the meeting.,
The Journal of Infectious Diseases
Department of Virology

Herfst, S., Osterhaus, A., & Fouchier, R. (2012). The future of research and publication on altered h5n1 viruses. The Journal of Infectious Diseases (Vol. 205, pp. 1628–1631). doi:10.1093/infdis/jis257