Because no antitoxins as yet have been developed to counteract the novel C. Botulinum toxin, the authors had detailed consultations with representatives from numerous appropriate US government agencies.
The team sequenced the bacterial DNA corresponding to the toxin, but did not publish it.
I can understand the reasoning, and see how it might make sense, but I wondered: in such a case, what are guidelines that should be followed? The editors indicate consultations with governmental agencies, but I think the government might in some case be overly eager to censor data that should, from an ethical and moral point of view, be disseminated.
So, without turning this into a political question: what are guidelines (written rules as well as unwritten moral standards) that an author, reviewer or editor should follow concerning potential public safety issues? I looked for information on the COPE website, but could not really find anything relevant.