From the NPR health blog on March 30, 2012:
by Nell Greenfieldboyce
The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity "has reconsidered its advice to keep certain details of bird flu experiments secret. Revised versions of manuscripts that describe two recent studies can be openly published, the committee now says. The decision could help end a contentious debate that has raged within the scientific community for months."
Nature and Science are the two journals in the process of publishing the reports. Nature's blog, in a post by Ed Yong, featured this headline last week: "Mutations behind flu spread revealed. Details of one of two controversial mutant flu papers discussed in London."
Yoshihiro Kawaoka, of the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, revealed that an altered form of the H5N1 virus was able to reproduce in a ferret's airways, and that spontaneous mutations of that form of the virus resulted in three new mutations (not represented in any virus database) which allowed the virus to go airborne between infected and healthy ferrets.
Read more about the research and the controversy surrounding it in Nature‘s mutant flu special and in news analysis dated April 6 from Science, by Jon Cohen and David Malakoff.