World health organization

2012 in review: key health issues

H5N1 in a laboratory setting
WHO/Gary Hampton

Improving understanding of H5N1 research

On 17 February, WHO brought together international experts to decide whether or not to continue research into transmission of H5N1 influenza (bird flu) viruses created in laboratories, and if the findings should be published. They agreed that H5N1 research is critical, but asked WHO to address public concerns about the value and safety of so-called “dual use” research that could be used for good or possible harm . WHO has provided countries with technical advice on biosafety and information on how the research can better protect health.

© WHO. All rights reserved.