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Influenza virus research and EU export regulations: publication, proliferation and pandemic risks

Influenza virus research and EU export regulations: publication, proliferation and pandemic risks
Influenza virus research and EU export regulations: publication, proliferation and pandemic risks
An influenza pandemic would be a global health emergency, and laboratory-based research on influenza viruses is an important component of worldwide efforts to prevent and prepare for this. There are concerns, however, that publishing the findings of such research might sometimes increase the risk of a pandemic caused by a laboratory accident or the deliberate release of a deadly virus. This article addresses the challenge of governing scientific information-sharing, with regard to public health benefits and risks, from an export-control perspective. The discussion focuses on research findings produced in 2011 by a team of influenza virologists in the Netherlands, and on the Dutch Government’s unprecedented decision to regard the intended publication of these findings as being subject to European Union regulations on the export of ‘dual-use’ items. I argue that, when a government is uncertain about whether the benefits of publishing particular research findings in a scientific journal outweigh the risks, a process of selectively disseminating those findings should be available as an alternative to official censorship.
0967-0742
293 - 313
Enemark, Christian
004b6521-f1bb-426a-a37b-686c6a8061f6
Enemark, Christian
004b6521-f1bb-426a-a37b-686c6a8061f6

Enemark, Christian (2017) Influenza virus research and EU export regulations: publication, proliferation and pandemic risks. Medical Law Review, 25 (2), 293 - 313. (doi:10.1093/medlaw/fww047).

Record type: Article

Abstract

An influenza pandemic would be a global health emergency, and laboratory-based research on influenza viruses is an important component of worldwide efforts to prevent and prepare for this. There are concerns, however, that publishing the findings of such research might sometimes increase the risk of a pandemic caused by a laboratory accident or the deliberate release of a deadly virus. This article addresses the challenge of governing scientific information-sharing, with regard to public health benefits and risks, from an export-control perspective. The discussion focuses on research findings produced in 2011 by a team of influenza virologists in the Netherlands, and on the Dutch Government’s unprecedented decision to regard the intended publication of these findings as being subject to European Union regulations on the export of ‘dual-use’ items. I argue that, when a government is uncertain about whether the benefits of publishing particular research findings in a scientific journal outweigh the risks, a process of selectively disseminating those findings should be available as an alternative to official censorship.

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Accepted/In Press date: 12 December 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 23 January 2017
Published date: 23 January 2017
Organisations: Politics & International Relations

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 403830
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/403830
ISSN: 0967-0742
PURE UUID: e5112561-67f0-4fe2-b0b0-64fe65975a5e
ORCID for Christian Enemark: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1833-0927

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 13 Dec 2016 11:52
Last modified: 23 Jul 2022 04:11

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