WHO may open its private bird flu database

Mar 21, 2006

The World Health Organization is reportedly being pressured to expand access to its private bird flu database as a way to spur wider research on the virus.

As WHO officials consider that request, the Geneva-based WHO announced it will ask its 192 member states to adopt a resolution in May that includes a pledge to share virus data. It isn't yet clear if the resolution will seek to make the data publicly accessible, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The avian flu virus has killed approximately 100 people worldwide since it re-emerged in late 2003. But scientists fear the virus might mutate and become easily transmittable between people, creating a pandemic and taking millions of lives.

Public health officials say information, if shared freely, might lead to the design of a vaccine.

In a recent editorial, the science journal Nature pointed to "an old-boy network of researchers" with access to WHO's password-protected database as part of the problem.

The New York Times also editorially criticized the WHO for its "secret database."

"The limited-access archive should be opened or bypassed immediately to encourage research on this looming health menace," The Times said.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Pop music heritage contributes to the formation of identity

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Biotech firm's GM mosquitoes to fight dengue in Brazil

Aug 27, 2014

It's a dry winter day in southeast Brazil, but a steamy tropical summer reigns inside the labs at Oxitec, where workers are making an unusual product: genetically modified mosquitoes to fight dengue fever.

Recommended for you

Pop music heritage contributes to the formation of identity

9 hours ago

The musical rebels of the past are today's museum pieces. Pop music is increasingly penetrating heritage institutions such as museums and archives. That is apparent from the PhD research of Arno van der Hoeven. On Thursday ...

Helping older employees stay in their jobs

10 hours ago

Factors that can hinder older employees from continuing to work include workload, a poor memory and the pensionable age-effect. The Job-Exposure Matrix is a newly developed instrument that provides an easy way to chart the ...

Explainer: What is a small private online course?

11 hours ago

If you have studied an online course at a university over the past couple of decades, you've probably already experienced a SPOC, or Small Private Online Course. SPOC is a new term for an old concept, which appears to be frustrating members of the distance edu ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.