Scientific Community Ready For ‘Constructive Discussion’ Over Gain-Of-Function Research
Nature: A ripe time for gaining ground
“Late last week, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced an immediate pause in all new government funding for gain-of-function (GOF) research — experiments to boost the transmissibility, virulence, or host range of pathogens — on influenzas, Middle East respiratory syndrome, and severe acute respiratory syndrome. … The decision to implement another moratorium — and to broaden it to pathogens other than the H5N1 and H7N9 flu viruses — is a belated acknowledgement that the issue of how to handle GOF research is far from resolved. … The climate for constructive discussion is now perhaps better than it was: although opinions remain sharply divided, each side now seems to be listening more to the other. … We need more … balanced analyses, and fewer dogmatic opinions, on both sides” (10/23).