Update 4/17: The paper’s author, Dutch virologist Ron Fouchier, has announced that he plans on resubmitting his paper to Science without an export permit, regardless of what Dutch authorities decide. Read more at Nature News.
Publication of the controversial mutant avian flu papers have hit yet another roadblock. In March, a US advisory panel reversed its prior decision to take out experimental details from two reports about research that seemed to turn the H5N1 bird flu virus into a more virulent and deadly form. Under the original decision, some redacted information would have been available only to accredited researchers.
But in a new, international twist, one of the papers is encountering another obstacle: NPR reported that the Netherlands-based team behind one of the studies is being stifled by Dutch law, which limits the export of technology that could be weaponized. So now there are two main questions about whether the flu research would be published for all to see: how dangerous the virus is, and whether the Dutch law would apply to this research.