C.D.C. Closes Anthrax and Flu Labs After Accidents
New York Times, 2014-07-12


Scientists doing the most controversial work —
efforts to make pathogens more lethal or more transmissible
say the research helps predict mutations that might arise in nature
so that vaccines can be created.
But other scientists feel that creating superstrains is unacceptably dangerous
because lab accidents are more common than is often acknowledged,
as Dr. Frieden’s announcement indicated.

The revelations at the C.D.C. renewed calls for a moratorium
by opponents of such “gain of function” research.

“This has been a nonstop series of bombshells,
and this news about contamination with H5N1 is just incredible,”
said Peter Hale, founder of the Foundation for Vaccine Research,
which lobbies for more funding for vaccines
but opposes “gain of function” research.
“You can have all the safety procedures in the world,
but you can’t provide for human error.”


[Supposedly this research is intended to find cures for possible future threats.
But history shows how often research into more efficient ways of killing people
finds a way into actually killing people, for some perceived advantage.
I would rather not open the lid to Pandora's box any further than is necessary.
And it hardly seems that this research is necessary at all.
Remember Murphy's Law:
"What can go wrong, will go wrong."
Why tempt fate by developing yet more deadly biological agents?

Further, I can see the possibility of developing tailored diseases,
diseases that will harm people with some genes,
while leaving others unaffected.
Do we really want to continue spending so much on medical research,
when the possibility for misuse of that research is so real
and impossible to reliably forestall?

From counter-productive and ruinously expensive attempts to tear down stable Southwest Asian governments
to potentially disastrous developments of potential weapons of biowar,
it is more than clear that people incapable of properly evaluating risk-reward ratios
are in charge of America.]

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