Scientists who created a more deadly and highly contagious strain of bird flu are pausing their research for 60 days, handing over their reports to be reviewed by other researchers around the world before they proceed. The scientists who purposely engineered genetic changes to the H5N1 virus to make it more contagious among lab animals have penned a letter explaining why they’re halting research, which will be published with reports on their work in the journals of Science and Nature. They say that though the scientists' work has public health benefits, the National Institutes of Health expressed concern about the virus escaping laboratories and potentially infecting humans, which has prompted a major public debate over whether the research is safe.
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