H5N1 NYAS, Matchmaking???, and a bit of seriousness

3 Feb

I’m following this evenings NYAS H5N1 discussion on twitter…. and all of a sudden the following pops up.


I’m hoping that the hastag format is the issue rather than digital matchmaking firms discussing H5N1 and ferret research…. 

On a more serious note, CIDRAP nailed the issue with the following tweet.

Lipkin: two different world views, how do you get the ball down the field?  

Alan Dove presented the following advice earlier… 


The virologists need to state their counter-arguments once more, but in the process they need to insist on direct responses from the NSABB. Don’t let them simply restate incorrect figures for the fatality rate, or just stipulate that redacting the data will prevent a terrible harm. Be nice, but press firmly. Don’t take “because we said so” for an answer. However, be sure you listen to the responses – it’s likely that NSABB members have some criticisms of the data you’re citing, and you’ll need to answer those as directly as you expect them to answer you.

The NSABB should begin by explaining their decision process, transparently and plainly, and acknowledging that it may have been flawed. Hey, we’re all people, and we all make mistakes sometimes. Next, address each and every one of the virologists’ counter-arguments directly. No dodging or pretending not to hear. Be prepared to concede any arguments for which you don’t have solid, evidence-backed answers. That will actually boost your credibility. Being wrong isn’t a character flaw. Being wrong while insisting you’re right is. On issues where you do have evidence, though, go ahead and press on. You had reasons for making the recommendation you made. Explain them.


Initially the tweet streams seems to suggest that the two worldviews are still not listening to each other…. now as it comes close to ending, it seems they are venturing into other arenas, global issues and the PR mess. I was hoping to hear some real debate on the bottom line divide.

It makes me wonder about external factors limiting what NSABB can really talk about. I remember picking up a similar vibe in a class w Mike Osterholm many years ago.


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