Saturday, July 16, 2005

Chinese officials attack Nature paper

"Nature bird flu paper 'wrong'". By Katherine Schlatter. The Scientist, 15 Jul 2005. Chinese officials say H5N1 research published last week was incorrect and unauthorized.

'A paper about the deaths from avian flu of geese in China, published in the July 6 online issue of Nature, was criticised as being incorrect and conducted without government approval.

The paper, by University of Hong Kong researcher Guan Yi and colleagues, including Robert G. Webster and Malik Peiris, concluded that an H5N1 outbreak among bar-headed geese and gulls at Qinghai Lake Nature Reserve was triggered by the introduction of a strain from southern China.

Last week, Guan told The Scientist he feared that new research regulations imposed by the agriculture ministry would lead to legal reprisals for his sequencing of Qinghai Lake H5N1 strains.

And last weekend, China's Ministry of Agriculture spokesman made strong statements carried by China's state-controlled Xinhua news service, dismissing the research. "An article on bird flu carried in the renowned journal Nature made the wrong conclusion," stated the article, which went on to say that, "no bird flu has broken out in southern China since [the beginning of] this year. "The writers' laboratory lacks the basic conditions for biological safety," the article said. "The writers did not apply [for] government approval for carrying out such bird flu virus research."'

More here.

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