Rethinking Research Biosafety for Potential Pandemic Pathogens
October 2012 — Laboratory-modified, highly virulent strains of the H5N1 virus were recently developed in such a way that they can be passed from one mammal to another (ferrets), suggesting that the new and potentially dangerous strain might easily be transferrable between humans. A new commentary in the journal mBio by HSPH faculty members Marc Lipsitch and Barry Bloom states that scientists on a global scale need to come together to develop new standards for deciding under what circumstances such research should be done. For potential pandemic pathogens that can be easily transmitted human to human, “the risk is global — a release that threatens Boston inevitably threatens Bangkok and Bamako.” In this video, Professor Lipsitch provides an overview of the issue and his views. Click the link below to read the complete commentary, which includes the authors’ recommendations for policies that need to be put in place.