Tuesday, November 20, 2012

HHS to host international workshop on H5N1 research issues

November 19, 2012
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced today that the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will host a 2-day workshop Dec 17 and 18 to discuss issues related to dual-use H5N1 avian influenza research. The event will take place on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md., and is open to the public but will not be webcast, according to the meeting announcement. Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is part of the NIH, hinted about the upcoming meeting in an editorial on H5N1 research moratorium published last month in mBio, the journal of the American Society for Microbiology. In a flyer about the meeting the HHS said the goal of the meeting is to provide a forum for multidisciplinary and multinational perspectives on experiments that explore how H5N1 might evolve to become a greater threat to humans. As part of developing its own funding policies, the HHS said it is interested in hearing from various stakeholders and how other governments and funders approach similar H5N1 research issues. Speakers will include experts from around the globe who have expertise in influenza, other infectious diseases, dual-use research (which could be used for both good and bad ends), bioethics, public health, biosecurity, epidemiology, national security, public health surveillance, agricultural and the World Health Organization, law, and medical countermeasure development.

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