Especialistas public health meeting in Geneva failed to reach an agreement as to whether controversial research on the H5N1 (avian influenza) should be publicadas.Uma meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) decided on Friday that more discussions are needed and ordered an indefinite moratorium on the research, claiming that its publication in the journals Science and Nature could give lessons to bioterrorist wishing to cause a global pandemic. The controversy is centered on two studies that show that H5N1 could easily mutate and spread rapidly through the human population.
Studies have raised the alert NSABB (Scientific Council for National Biosafety USA), which urged newspapers, last November, which omitissem share of scientific papers, claiming that the details could be used by extremists to develop powerful virus.
The censorship has caused protests from scientists who argue that the measure hurts academic freedom.Some even argue that the study details were already widely known in scientific circles and his censure would have little practical effect.
Since then, researchers involved in studies and scientific journals have debated the issue.
Vaccines and mutaçãoOs details about the virus are important for scientists who develop vaccines and to monitor the mutation of H5N1 and its possible transmission to humans.
But these efforts are stalled for months, as experts try to decide how to handle sensitive information.
The meeting in Geneva, with 22 experts, agreed that the partial publication of the studies would be useless. Therefore decided to extend the temporary moratorium on the dissemination of research, while acknowledging that the investigaçõess about the H5N1 "should continue".
"Given the high mortality rate associated with the virus - 60% of infected humans have died - all meeting participants stressed the high degree of concern about this flu virus and the need for more studies," said Keji Fukada, assistant director-general WHO's health security.
According to him, "there is a preference, from the standpoint of public health, the full disclosure of the two studies. However, there are significant concerns about the research" and its possible use for bioterrorism.
It is hoped a new meeting on the subject in a few months.