Thanks to Helen Branswell for tweeting the link to Robert Roos's latest for CIDRAP: Dutch export rules could block publication of Fouchier H5N1 study. Excerpt:
In a new twist in the ongoing controversy over publication of two studies involving H5N1 viruses with increased transmissibility, there are indications that the Dutch government may consider using export regulations to prevent full publication of the study by Ron Fouchier, PhD, and colleagues.
In a Mar 7 letter to the Dutch parliament, the country's minister of public health, welfare, and sport, Dr. E. I. Schippers, said an export permit is required for dissemination of detailed information about the H5N1 virus outside the European Union. If such a permit is requested, the government will consider the health and safety risks of granting it, the minister said.
In addition, a Mar 9 report in a Dutch newspaper, the Amsterdam-based Volkskrant, said that Henk Bleker, the nation's secretary for agriculture and foreign trade, thinks that the government could prevent publication of the virus "recipe" by denying an export license.
Fouchier's study and a similar one by Yoshihiro Kawaoka, DVM, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, both deal with lab-modified H5N1 viruses that showed increased transmissibility in ferrets, which are considered the best animal models for studying human influenza. Fouchier submitted his paper to Science and Kawaoka offered his to Nature.