The U.S. recently approved the publication of research into Avian Influenza, commonly known as bird flu, after it was blocked for four months due to concerns over its use by bioterrorists. Two research teams, located in the U.S. and the Netherlands respectively, worked on this project involving an airborne form of the virus that affected ferrets.
Though not contagious to humans, the virus is already out in the wild. Chances for the virus to mutate causing a pandemic have researchers on high alert. Head virologists have already been informed to counter such a dilemma but could have had backup from other scientists earlier had publication of the work not been delayed by both the American and the Dutch governments. The governments’ consent to publish was only given when they had assessed the risk it posed.