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Censorship Medicine United States Science

Biosecurity Board Recommends Full Publication of Bird Flu Studies 21

An anonymous reader writes "Two controversial scientific papers on a mutant form of the H5N1 avian flu virus should be published in uncensored form after a review determined there would be no immediate threat from releasing the data, a U.S. biosecurity panel said, revising its earlier decision."
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Biosecurity Board Recommends Full Publication of Bird Flu Studies

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  • by acidfast7 ( 551610 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @08:35AM (#39558699)
    as it has been disseminated previously (at conferences, etc...) Why is this "still" an issue? Just publish it and be done with it.
  • Confirmation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by openfrog ( 897716 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @08:36AM (#39558705)

    Another confirmation, and a particularly revealing and interesting one at that, that there is no security trough obscurity.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Sigh. Yes, if you feed at the trough of security, you'll get cancer from the backscatter radiation.

    • by brit74 ( 831798 )
      How is this confirmation of anything? 'A scientific review board agree with releasing the recipe for a nasty form of bird flu' [though they might be wrong and foolhardy] = confirmation of a larger, more general principle? First, I personally thought their language was surprisingly limited - they said there was no immediate threat from releasing the information (apparently, they haven't even tried to decide if there's a mid or long-term threat from releasing the data). And, second, the review board votes
  • by tiberus ( 258517 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @09:02AM (#39558873)

    Ah, the Great Belief (tm) that I (we) should somehow feeling inherently safer, sleep easier at night and be proud to bring our children into a world where only the Trusted Few (tm) know the Awesome Secrets of the Puniverse (tm). I'd like to be the first to call Bullshit but, many Great Seers have come down from the mountain and proclaimed thus before me.

    Can we, as a society, not see that it is our fear that puts us at risk and not knowledge? Trust me, the Bad Guys(tm) already know the Bad Stuff(tm). The fear based hording of information won't stop something bad from happening.

    • by tiberus ( 258517 )
      Buggered up the mark-up on that one...
    • by brit74 ( 831798 )
      Indeed. No doubt you're selling nuclear secrets to North Korea and crazy doomsday cults at this very moment.
    • Yeah, although you really do have to be practical about it. I'd trust that the review board weighed the right pros and cons. I mean, at some point you have to consider how obvious the research is, which I guess would correspond to the engineering techniques. Those techniques are probably gonna be really really in depth, since it's biotech, but it's not like the genome-comparisons of people/animal hopping viruses haven't been made before in detail... It's not my field, I left Bioengineering for Biostatis
  • The main news (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mdsolar ( 1045926 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @09:11AM (#39558935) Homepage Journal
    H5N1 will almost certainly become pandemic owing to mutations in the wild. The study showed that this is very likely. So, we know what to target in terms of vaccine development and with what urgency. It seems a lot of people missed this.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @09:18AM (#39559007)

    One of these days, a pandemic will sweep across the globe and we will not be prepared. Not because we were not warned. But because we were warned far too many times.

    For fuck's sake, it's no longer a secret that the H5N1 pandemic was a big hype. At least publish it now and confess that you fucked up, that way you may retain at least a bit of credibility. Else you're just seen as the kid who cries wolf for fun (or in this case, profit).

    • That study comproves that there was a wolf there, and goes into details on what to look for on that wolf (so we can find it faster), and how to protect against it. Oh, and incidentaly, it comes with a receipt on how to create your own lethal wolf.

      • And why should I believe in this wolf this time?

        The point is, we have had "the sky is falling, repent your sins for the pandemic is coming" warnings before. People went and prepared themselves, bought masks and vaccines, which I do not doubt to be a sensible thing IF, and only IF, such a thing actually has a chance to happen.

        Problem is, it never happened. Not even a little bit so one could argue that because we had ample warning and preparation we could contain it in time. If we had a few hundred or thousan

        • If you read a "repent your sins" message into any "there might a problem there" statement, the problem might be on your side, you know.
        • And why should I believe in this wolf this time?

          I don't know. If a receipt describing how to create the virus, and the knowledge that Nature does follow all those steps at random all the time isn't enough for you to belive that the virus could appear... Yeah, I can't think about anything that will convince you. You can repeat the experiment if you know how to handle such virus, that's the entire reason that "science" stuff works. Just make sure to not let it into the public.

          Problem is, it never happened.


Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed. -- Neil Armstrong