[We have posted the research paper from Mount Sinai School of Medicine here]
23 Feb 2012 20:31
* U.N. agency WHO estimates death rate topping 50 percent
* Study suggests far lower rate, apparently under 1 percent
* Critics cast doubt on new study, WHO defends its figures
* Adds to controversy over publishing bird flu research
By Sharon Begley
NEW YORK, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Bird flu may be far less lethal to people than the World Health Organization's assessment of a death rate topping 50 percent, scientists said on Thursday in a finding that adds fuel to the heated controversy over publication of bird flu research.
Scientists led by virologist Peter Palese of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York argue in an analysis published in the online edition of the journal Science that the WHO, a U.N. agency, is calculating the death rate using an estimate of human bird flu cases that is simply too low.
Palese and his colleagues did not offer a specific death rate for people infected by bird flu. But based on figures cited in their analysis, the rate appears to be under 1 percent.
The WHO stood by its calculations and some experts criticized the Palese team's findings, saying they were based on misleading data. As of Thursday, the WHO counts 586 cases of people infected by bird flu. Of those, 346 died, for a fatality rate of 59 percent.
Palese declined requests for an interview, and asked his co-authors not to speak to reporters, according to the Mount Sinai press office.
continued - click on title for complete article.