Nothing To Sneeze At?

The United States government took the unprecedented step of asking scientists to withhold important information about research that might be used by terrorist groups. They want key parts of work describing how  scientists managed to mutate the H5N1 bird flu virus into a strain that become infectious . The new strain could be spread by a  cough or sneeze. There is fear a terrorist or criminal gang could obtain the strain and use it to kill or for blackmail purposes.

Some raise questions as to whether such research should take place in a university setting lacking adequate security procedures. On the other hand, some scientists are concerned that important information that could assist the research of other scientists will not be shared. Frankly, as a non-scientist, it is scary what could happen. Are there times when open information can become open dangerous information?

Related Posts