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Leukippos Institute

Publishing risky research

"This week sees the online publication of the paper 'Experimental adaptation of an influenza H5 HA confers respiratory droplet transmission to a reassortant H5 HA/H1N1 virus in ferrets' by the Japanese–US team headed by Yoshihiro Kawaoka at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (M. Imai et al. Nature 10.1038/nature10831 (2012). See also pages 7 and 13, and H.-L. Yen and J. S. M. Peiris Nature; 2012). Kawaoka's paper was one of two submitted last August, reporting mammalian transmissibility of avian flu as a result of artificial genetic manipulation, the principal scientific interest of which arises from the small number of mutations found to be necessary. The other paper, by a team headed by Ron Fouchier at the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, is expected to appear soon in Science....."
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