Scientists Call For Transparency Of Bird Flu Research
by: Nell Greenfieldboyce, NPR, February 15, 2012 2:02:00 pm
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February 15, 2012
Controversial experiments on bird flu have split the scientific community. Scientists recently took a bird flu virus and altered its genes and now it can spread through the air between lab animals. When word got out, there was an uproar and critics fear that if this virus ever escapes the lab, it could cause a devastating pandemic in people. It's all led to an "Asilomar-type moment." Asilomar refers to a famous event in the early days of genetic engineering, when scientists put a voluntary moratorium on their work and held a meeting in 1975 to discuss the potential risks of the research and how to control them. Key scientists who organized that historic meeting say there are lessons that might hold for today's furor over bird flu.