In 2011, the research caused a firestorm when it leaked out that two groups, one in the U.S. and one in the Netherlands
January 24, 2013 – Experiments that had been suspended during 2012, with a deadly bird flu virus, following a big global debate, will begin again within the next few weeks, announced scientists.
In 2011, the research caused a firestorm when it leaked out that two groups, one in the U.S. and one in the Netherlands, had genetically altered a bird flu virus that was dangerous, to make it even more contagious for mammals.
At the time, other scientists warned a deadly pandemic could break out if the new mutant form of the virus were leaked accidentally or if a group of terrorists were able to steal it or make it themselves, using articles from scientific journals.
Due to the outcry, scientists that were conducting the virus experiments declared a moratorium last year. Part of the moratorium was to allow government and organizations to decide on the correct safety rules that should be put in place.
Now, said researchers, the moratorium should come to an end since more rules are in place in different countries. On Wednesday, a new letter from the same 40 scientists that called the experiment moratorium last year was released, saying the experiments should commence again in the countries that are willing to allow them.
However, in the U.S., which covers the cost for the majority of the flu research both in the U.S. and abroad, has yet to release any updated guidelines. Therefore, scientists in the U.S. cannot resume experiments nor will those in other countries that need U.S. grant money.
One researcher from the Netherlands said why should the world wait for the U.S. and how long does the U.S. want everyone to wait. He said his Netherlands-based lab would resume its research using monies from alternative sources.