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World Health Organization Puts Super Virus Data On Hold

2/20/2012 11:03 AM ET

The World Health Organization has continued to hold back full publication of two studies on the deadly H5N1 avian flu.

In the statement, WHO authorities noted that "understanding of this research through communications and the review of biosafety and biosecurity" issues that the research raises is still at the top of its agenda. However, the organization did not lift the moratorium on laboratory-modified viruses, which scientists and critics fear could be used as biological weapons of mass destruction.

WHO added that research would continue on the avian influenza found in nature would continue.

Dr. Keiji Fukuda, Assistant Director-General of Health Security and Environment for the WHO, explained: "Given the high death rate associated with this virus - 60% of all humans who have been infected have died - all participants at the meeting emphasized the high level of concern with this flu virus in the scientific community and the need to understand it better with additional research."

He added: "The results of this new research have made it clear that H5N1 viruses have the potential to transmit more easily between people underscoring the critical importance for continued surveillance and research with this virus."

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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