Policies being developed to address biosecurity concerns of H5N1 studies

Two U.S. scientific journals recently announced that they are developing policies to address biosecurity-related concerns as experts continue to debate two controversial H5N1 avian flu studies.

The editor of the Journal of Infectious Diseases, Dr. Martin Hirsch, said that the goal of his journal's policy is to preserve freedom of expression while maintaining proper security. Hirsch said that the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the publisher of JID and Clinical Infectious Diseases, has been closely following the unfolding debate, according to CIDRAP News.

"We are developing policies that address these issues on a case-by-case basis, so that freedom of scientific expression can be maintained without sacrificing individual safety or national security," Hirsch wrote in a recent editorial, CIDRAP News reports.

Hirsch also recently announced the publication of three essays related to the H5N1 study controversy, including one authored by Dr. Ron Fouchier and his colleagues from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the authors of one of the two independent studies.

The new pieces will be available two days before the beginning of two key discussions over the issue. The U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity will review the latest versions of the two manuscripts and a Royal Society conference in London plans to address several key aspects of the debate.