Sharing avian flu data

Seventy top flu scientists and health officials, including six Nobel laureates, today backed a plan to end secrecy over avian flu data: the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID).

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Correspondence: Sharing avian flu data

Seventy top flu scientists and health officials, including six Nobel laureates, today backed a plan to end secrecy over avian flu data: the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID).

To understand how avian influenza viruses spread and evolve -- and become pandemic -- scientists from different fields of expertise around the world need immediate access to high-quality genetic, clinical and other data from both animal and human outbreaks of the disease.

But data on avian flu outbreaks are usually either restricted by governments or kept private by a small network of researchers linked to international animal and public health agencies. Many scientists and organizations are also hoarding sequence data, often for years, so that they can be the first to publish in academic journals.

In a Correspondence published online by Nature on 24 August, experts announce the creation of scheme to encourage scientists and nations to share data rapidly with other scientists worldwide.

The GISAID consortium will be open to all scientists provided they agree to share their own data, credit the use of others’ data, analyse findings jointly, and publish the results collaboratively. The three major publicly available databases participating in the International Nucleotide Sequence Databases Collaboration - the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), the DNA Data Bank of Japan (DDBJ) and GenBank - will publish data as soon as possible after analysis and validation, and certainly no later than six months after submission.


Peter Bogner (Director GISAID, Santa Monica, CA, USA)
Please contact through Courtney Walker (New York, NY, USA)
Tel: +1 212 704 8102; E-mail: [email protected]

Nancy Cox (Chief of Influenza Division, Atlanta, CA, USA)
Please contact through Christine Pearson
Tel: +1 404 639 7582; E-mail: [email protected]

Ilaria Capua (Director of Virology, Padova, Italy)
Please contact through Michaela Mandelli
Tel: +39 049 808 4369; E-mail: [email protected]


Ruth Francis, Nature London
Tel: +44 20 7843 4562; E-mail [email protected]

Helen Jamison, Nature London
Tel: +44 20 7843 4658; E-mail [email protected]

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Published: 24 Aug 2006

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