Dutch Government OK’s Publication of controversial H5N1 Study

Posted on April 28, 2012


AMSTERDAM—The Dutch government has given virologist Ron Fouchier of Erasmus


MC an export license for his controversial H5N1 transmissibility study, allowing Fouchier to send a revised manuscript of his paper to Science.

The license “is in my inbox,” says Fouchier. “Now we can move on.”

The decision by Henk Bleker, minister for agriculture and foreign trade, was announced this afternoon in a press release (Dutch) posted on the ministry’s Web site. It comes 4 days after a closed meeting in The Hague, where government officials discussed the risks and benefits of the research with an international group of scientists and security experts. According to today’s statement:

Minister Bleker has weighed all of the benefits and risks of publication of the avian influenza research, and has especially looked at the freedom of research and publication, health, and safety. He has also taken into consideration insights from national and international experts in the areas of security, health, and research; the positive advice of the U.S. National Science Advisory Board on Biosecurity to the U.S. government about publication of the research; and the U.S. government’s decision to follow that advice.


Science Mag

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