April 3, 2012 In 2007, Congress created a public-private foundation to support research of interest to the FDA. Critics said this amounted to a new way for industry groups to influence the agency's decisions, and any FDA funding for the foundation was blocked for years. That's about to change.
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.
March 7, 2012 Scientists at the Food and Drug Administration are feeling more optimistic about the future of their agency than they were back in 2006, according to a survey just out from the Union of Concerned Scientists. But they still report concerns about outside pressures on the agency's decisions and policies.
February 29, 2012 The studies in question looked at how the bird flu virus could spread through the air. An expert panel that advises the government on biosafety in research had earlier said the findings should not be published, fearing that the data could fall into the wrong hands.
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.
February 16, 2012 The highly-anticipated gathering of flu experts has been described as a fact-finding session that will focus on understanding how bird flu studies done at Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands and at the University of Wisconsin were performed and overseen by the relevant authorities.
February 15, 2012 Scientists working with bird flu recently called a 60-day halt on some controversial experiments. The unusual move has been compared to a famous moratorium on genetic engineering in the 1970s. Key scientists involved in that pause on genetic research disagree on whether today's furor over bird flu is history repeating itself.
February 13, 2012 Last month, scientists around the world agreed to temporarily halt controversial scientific research with bird flu viruses. Some experts say too little is known about how infectious this virus could be to humans, but other experts think those risks have been blown a bit out of proportion.
February 9, 2012 The scientists, journal editors and others who attend are expected to review the facts and the most pressing issues related to this specific work, rather than have a broader discussion about the possibility of international oversight of potentially worrisome biological research.
February 1, 2012 Last year it looked like stricter controls would be put in place to limit workers' exposure to dangerous silica dust. But for almost a year, the proposed regulations have been stalled at the White House Office of Management and Budget. Worker safety advocates are growing frustrated, but industry stakeholders say current regulations are sufficient.
January 20, 2012 Scientists working with a highly contagious, lab-created strain of bird flu will suspend their research for 60 days. The pause will make possible an international debate on the merits of the work, they say.