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Re-creating known pathogenic viruses and making existing bacteria more dangerous are among the top threats.
Some experts say that offering a manual for re-creating an orthopoxvirus is inherently dangerous.
Researchers are relieved to resume experiments, but some public health questions remain.
In a sample from a patient who died, researchers saw signs that the H7N9 virus had started to mutate to a form resistant to Tamiflu.
Though the technology isn't likely within reach of do-it-yourselfers, it could already be in use by rogue governments, experts say.
The group voted unanimously on policy regarding avian flu and other viruses.
Esvelt KM. Inoculating science against potential pandemics and information hazards. PLoS Pathog 2018 (published online Oct 4)
Evans NG. Ethical and philosophical considerations for gain-of-function policy: the importance of alternate experiments. (Commentary) Front Bioeng Biotechnol 2018 Feb 8
Inglesby T. Horsepox and the need for a new norm, more transparency, and stronger oversight for experiments that pose pandemic risks. PLoS Pathog 2018 (published online Oct 4
Noyce RS, Evans DH. Synthetic horsepox viruses and the continuing debate about dual use research. PLoS Pathog 2018 (published online Oct 4)
Thiel V. Synthetic viruses—anything new? PLoS Pathog 2018 (published online Oct 4)
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