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Scientists Favor Release Of Bird-Flu Studies After Security Screening

Russian health workers inoculate a goose against bird flu caused by the H5N1 virus at a farm in a village near Moscow (file photo).
Scientists gathered at a two-day meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) have decided that controversial research on a mutant form of the so-called bird-flu virus should be made public, but only after security assessments are carried out.

The two studies in question examined a mutant form of the H5N1 virus, which is potentially capable of being spread among mammals, including humans.

In November, security officials in the United States urged that key information from the studies be withheld for fear that information could be used to cause a massive flu pandemic.

Although H5N1 is rarely transmitted from birds to humans, it is extremely virulent when it does.

The WHO says of the 584 people known to have been infected by H5N1, 345 died.

Compiled from agency reports