Kathleen Vogel – Continued

In late 2011, virologists Ron Fouchier and Yoshihiro Kawaoka encountered a swarm of government and public controversy from their creation of novel variants of the H5N1 avian influenza virus. Prior to publication of these experimental findings, the U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) reviewed Fouchier’s and Kawaoka’s scientific manuscripts. The NSABB unanimously recommended that the, “conclusions of the manuscripts be published but without experimental details and mutation data that would enable replication of the experiments.” The NSABB explained its justification as being based on security concerns: “publishing these experiments in detail would provide information to some person, organization, or government that would help them to develop similar viruses for harmful purposes.” This lecture will discuss the scientific, ethical, and security controversies that surrounded this experiment.