Fouchier plans on resubmitting his paper to Science without an export permit
18 April, 2012
Ron Fouchier plans on resubmitting his paper to Science without an export permit
The paper’s author, Dutch virologist Dr. Ron Fouchier, a researcher at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, whose work on H5N1 avian influenza virus has been at the centre of controversy has announced that he plans on resubmitting his paper to Science without an export permit, regardless of what Dutch authorities decide.
Fouchier’s paper is one of two reporting the creation of forms of the H5N1 virus capable of spreading between mammals. The other, by Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and his colleagues, has been submitted to Nature.
On Mar 30, the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB)* cleared the two studies for publication in Science and Nature, after initially blocking their full publication in December over biosecurity concerns. The NSABB reversed its original decision after weighing new details on the two studies during a 2-day meeting. But the Dutch work is now being blocked from publication because of Dutch legal controls on the export of technology that could potentially be used for weapons.
Fouchier is supposed to meet with the Dutch government on April 23 to discuss whether his paper requires an export permit.
Fouchier could face up to 6 years in prison and $102,000 in fines for publishing the paper without seeking an export license.
* US National Institutes of Health provided funding for the reasearch conducted in a BSL3 + facility constructed at Rotterdam with NIH and US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention inspection and approval.