Virologists making mutated versions of the H5N1 bird flu halted their research in January after a U.S. government advisory panel suggested that their work, though well-intentioned, had the potential to endanger the public.
That voluntary moratorium was intended to last 60 days. Nearly nine months later, it remains in place, and scientists are still hashing out if, when and how the research might resume. In a series of essays commissioned this week by mBio, a journal published by the American Society for Microbiology, key players in the controversy set out their thoughts on the matter.
First, a brief review of the controversy: H5N1 bird flu has been circulating in parts of Asia, Europe and the Middle East for more than a decade, resulting in the deaths of millions of chickens, ducks and other fowl. It’s rare in humans and does not appear to pass easily from person to person. But when bird flu does strike in people, it is often deadly.
Vaccine Exemption Forms