GMO Technology Integral To Studying Disease Threats
The Conversation: GMOs lead the fight against Zika, Ebola, and the next unknown pandemic
Jeff Bessen, PhD candidate at Harvard University
“…Most modern biomedical advances, especially the vaccines used to eradicate disease and protect against pandemics such as Zika, Ebola, and the flu, rely on the same molecular biology tools that are used to create [genetically modified organisms (GMOs)]. To protect the public, scientists have embraced GMO technology to quickly study new health threats, manufacture enough protective vaccines, and monitor and even predict new outbreaks. … Beyond diagnosing single patients, molecular biology tools will be used to get ahead of the as-yet-unknown pandemic threats that lie in the future. Public health officials are calling for monitoring infections in the places where new diseases frequently emerge. Quick and accurate diagnostic tests are key to determining which viruses are already circulating and would allow researchers to anticipate new pandemics and develop and stockpile vaccines. … With the help of GMOs, infectious disease experts have the tools to get ahead of the next outbreak, moving beyond reaction to quick detection, containment, and even prevention” (7/27).