Aug 07, 2013
Signers are part of NIH-funded networkRon Fouchier, PhD, a virologist at Erasmus University in the Netherlands, told CIDRAP News that all of the scientists who signed the letter are part of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH)–funded Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (CEIRS). The program, based at seven sites throughout the United States, is a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) research network that is designed to help the government and its global health partners prepare for and respond to epidemic and pandemic influenza threats.
He said the idea of the letter came up during the weekly teleconference sessions that involved CEIRS investigators during the first months of the H7N9 outbreak.
Fouchier said several experiments that were discussed and proposed qualify as GOF studies. "We rapidly agreed that some form of communication to the scientific community and general public would be desired," he said, adding that the group circulated the first draft of the letter by e-mail and then had a final discussion at the annual CEIRS meeting recently in Memphis.