Recently Published Scientific Paper Raises Questions, Provides Warning Regarding Privately Funded Dual-Use Research

Washington Post: An experiment risks giving terrorists the recipe for smallpox — and sends a warning
Editorial Board

“A scientific paper published on Jan. 19 described a worrisome experiment. Researchers in Canada assembled bits of DNA and resurrected in the laboratory a cousin of the virus that caused smallpox, a deadly scourge eradicated in 1980. The authors said their experiments might lead to improved vaccines, but critics have correctly questioned whether the study could give terrorists or rogue states a recipe to reconstitute the smallpox virus, known as variola. … The Canadian researchers did not violate regulations, but their work fell into a sort of gray area where regulations hardly reach. … [A] study such as this comes as a jolt. It was not necessary. … The restrictions that now cover dual-use research funded by U.S. government — which include an independent review process, and a weighing of the risks and benefits, as well as the ethics — should be expanded to private-sector research. The WHO should be given a stronger oversight role, too…” (2/3).

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