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Dangerous Research

The US government has taken the unusual step of asking two groups of researchers to redact some material from papers they plan to publish on the avian influenza virus H5N1, reports Nature's Declan Butler. The two groups created variants of the virus that make it more easily transmissible through the air, and the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity has asked that those details be redacted so that the work cannot be easily replicated by those who might have nefarious plans in mind.

After some consideration, the groups have "reluctantly" agreed to redact certain details from their manuscripts, reports ScienceInsider's Martin Enserink. The papers are under review at Nature and Science. While the details won't be widely published, however, they may be made available to influenza researchers who have a legitimate interest, Enserink adds.

Some researchers say, however, that NSABB should have started dealing with this possibility a long time ago, writes Nature's Butler. "Because further research on the new variants now seems inevitable, a far more important question, they say, is whether the labs that hold samples of the virus — and those who will seek to work with them in the future — have sufficient biosafety protection to make sure it cannot escape," Butler says.

The Scan

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge is weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.