October 16, 2012 The Department of Health and Human Services' request for comments comes after some have criticized officials for not having enough public discussion about the controversial H5N1 viruses, which were created in the lab to find out if they could mutate and start a pandemic in people.
October 9, 2012 Because of fears that lab-altered bird flu viruses could cause a deadly pandemic if they ever escaped the lab, scientists agreed to a moratorium on mutant H5N1 flu research eight months ago. Now top scientists in the field continue the debate about the work, publishing six commentaries for and against the end of the moratorium.
July 31, 2012 Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said public discussions about controversial bird flu experiments are needed before a moratorium on them can be lifted.
July 30, 2012 Scientists gather in New York to consider the future of bird flu research after a moratorium on the work passes. Critics say the work and its findings could pose security risks, but scientists defend their experiments as preparation for outbreaks.
July 24, 2012 The world's top influenza researchers agreed to a voluntary moratorium on working with contagious, lab-altered forms of a particularly worrisome form of bird flu back in January. The hold was supposed to last just 60 days. It's now been more than six months, and scientists don't agree on what should happen next.
June 21, 2012 The research paper, which has been under scrutiny for months, publishes the recipe for a potential pandemic: It shows how just a handful of genetic mutations in the bird flu virus H5N1 allow it to spread between ferrets — the lab stand-in for people — through coughs and sneezes.
May 2, 2012 The paper describes experiments that suggest just a few genetic changes could potentially make a bird flu virus capable of becoming contagious in humans, and causing a dangerous pandemic. A fierce debate has raged over this study for months, because of fears that the work might provide a recipe for turning bird flu into a bioweapon.
April 24, 2012 The Dutch scientist at the center of the controversy over recent bird flu experiments says that his team applied for government permission Tuesday to submit a paper describing their research to a science journal. He is optimistic the request will be granted, but had hoped he wouldn't need the special permit.
April 20, 2012 The conflict over publishing controversial bird flu research may come to a head next Monday, as the Dutch government meets to consider whether it should lift controls that have kept a scientist from openly discussing his work with the deadly virus.
March 30, 2012 A government advisory committee has reconsidered its advice to keep certain details of bird flu experiments secret. Revised versions of manuscripts that describe two recent studies can be openly published, the committee now says. The decision could help end a debate that has raged within the scientific community for months.
March 26, 2012 An expert committee that advises the government is once again going to review some controversial studies on bird flu to see if they can be published openly. Last year, those experts said no, because of concerns that the work could be misused and was too dangerous, but the government asked it to reconsider after a World Health Organization panel came to the opposite conclusion.
February 17, 2012 Research that produced genetically altered bird flu viruses that could pose a danger to people should remain on hold for now. But a panel of experts recommended the details of the experiments should be published.
February 17, 2012 A small group has gathered at the World Health Organization in Geneva to discuss a controversy over experiments that generated genetically altered viruses. After the meeting, which ends Friday, the WHO will announce what happened behind closed doors.