(NaturalNews) After toying with the idea of blocking public access to critical information discovered as part of an experiment with H5N1 avian flu, the US government has now decided that certain details of this controversial research be withdrawn from two scientific journals. The UK's Guardian reports that the journals Science and Nature are working to remove certain details from the research that terrorists may try to use to create biological weapons.
The controversy stems from research conducted by Dr. Ron Fouchier from Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands, who deliberately created a deadly strain of H5N1 that is capable of spreading among mammals, including humans. NaturalNews reported on this intentional "militarization" of H5N1 last month, when the government was still considering what to do with the new-found information (http://www.naturalnews.com/034228_bioterrori...).
According to Science Insider, Dr. Fouchier told reporters that he and his team's deliberate mutation of H5N1 had created "probably one of the most dangerous viruses you can make." US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) chair Paul Keim added, "I can't think of another pathogenic organism that is as scary as this one. I don't think anthrax is scary at all compared to this."
The only problem with the government deciding to pull this sensitive information now, though, is that it has already been made public at recent conferences where the findings were discussed. In other words, the government is trying to "[shut] the stable doors after the horse has bolted," to quote the words of former chief virologist of the UK's National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, John Wood.
Both journals are reportedly working on publishing edited versions of the papers that do not contain details about how the experiments were conducted, or about how the team was able to develop the highly-deadly strain. Some researchers, however, would still be able to access the original papers in their complete form, according to reports.
"The proposed reactions are nothing more than a public relations measure, a window dressing, intended to convey the impression that the issue is being addressed to minimize negative public reaction and deflect calls for effective regulation," said Richard Ebright, a professor of molecular biology at Rutgers University.