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WHO: Bird Flu Study Could Be Published in Full After Risks Assessed

"...there are significant public concerns surrounding this research..."

A meeting of the World Health Organization over the controversial publication of a study detailing how bird flu -- not naturally transmissible to humans -- was mutated to become infectious to humans, has concluded that full publication will be allowed. But there's a "but".

Reuters reports that only after all the risks have been assessed will this study on a mutated H1N5 virus be published:

“There is a preference from a public health perspective for full disclosure of the information in these two studies. However, there are significant public concerns surrounding this research that should first be addressed,” said Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s assistant director-general for health security and environment.

Biosecurity experts fear mutated forms of the virus that research teams in the Netherlands and the United States independently created could escape or fall into the wrong hands and be used to spark a pandemic.

Gregory Hartl, a WHO spokesman, said that “there must be a much fuller discussion of risk and benefits of research in this area and risks of the virus itself.”

(Related: Pandemic possible? Scientist genetically modifies bird flu with scary results)

Before the meeting of the panel in Geneva, which included 22 flu experts and U.S. security, some were calling for the authors to refrain from publishing any of the results, while others said only some details should be left out. Amid these concerns, the researchers said they would put publishing on hold until an agreement could be reached.

Even with WHO saying they will further evaluate the risk of releasing this information, some still have concerns that the information could be used to harm humanity -- not help it. For example, if it were used in as biological warfare.

Fox News Insider sat down with Dr. Marc Siegel, who wrote “Bird Flu: Everything You Need to Know About the Next Pandemic”, and believes results of the study shouldn't be released. Watch the clip:

Reuters reports that a timeline for expected publishing of the results remains unclear but that it would be a matter of months not years.
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