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WHO Hopes To Host Second Meeting On Issues Related To 'Dual-Use' Research

“The World Health Organization (WHO) hopes to hold a meeting late this fall to discuss ‘dual-use’ research issues raised in the controversy over publication of two studies involving lab-modified H5N1 viruses with increased transmissibility, a WHO official said,” CIDRAP News reports. “The WHO hosted a closed meeting of disease experts and government officials Feb 16 and 17 to discuss the two H5N1 studies,” CIDRAP notes, adding that “the WHO [on Wednesday] released a brief statement about its activities related to the H5N1 research controversy since the February meeting in Geneva.” Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s assistant director-general for health security and environment, said, “We hope to hold a second meeting to discuss the broader concerns related to potential dual [use] research in the late fall, if resources are available,” the news service notes. 

“‘WHO is planning an international consultation on broader issues highlighted by the debate surrounding the two H5N1 research studies,’ the agency said,” CIDRAP notes. “A discussion engaging multiple stakeholders, including the scientific, public health and security communities, government agencies, international agencies, and the public is envisaged,” the agency added, CIDRAP writes. Some “experts have spoken of the need for an international approach to develop policies on the publication of dual-use research reports,” according to the news service (5/30).