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Author Topic: US lifts ban on lethal virus experiments  (Read 123 times)

Offline space otter

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US lifts ban on lethal virus experiments
« on: December 20, 2017, 07:57:23 AM »






http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42426548

US lifts ban on lethal virus experiments despite security risks
2 hours ago

The US government has lifted a three-year ban on making lethal viruses in the lab, saying the potential benefits of disease preparedness outweigh the risks.

Labs will now be able to manufacture strains of influenza, Sars and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers).

The ban was imposed following safety breaches at federal institutions involving anthrax and avian flu.

Now a scientific review panel will have to green-light each research proposal.

It will only be allowed to go ahead if the panel determines there is no safer way to conduct the research and that the benefits it will provide justify the risk.

Critics say such "gain-of-function" research still risks creating an accidental pandemic.

But supporters of removing the ban say many US states are poorly prepared for an almost-inevitable outbreak of a deadly virus.

"I believe nature is the ultimate bioterrorist and we need to do all we can to stay one step ahead," said Samuel Stanley, chairman of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, which provided guidance on the new policy.

"Basic research on these agents by laboratories that have shown they can do this work safely is key to global security."

The ban was imposed in 2014 after embarrassing safety lapses including:

Dozens of workers at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) being exposed to anthrax bacteria
Long forgotten vials of smallpox left in a cardboard box being discovered at a research centre near Washington
In addition, there was concern that research into transmissible pathogens, which is published, could be used to deliberately engineer a mutant virus.

Now, the US National Institutes of Health says it is time to lift the ban on funding such research with the introduction of new safeguards.

The institution where the work is being done must demonstrate that the work is "ethically justifiable".

It must have the "capacity and commitment to conduct it safely and securely, and have the ability to respond rapidly, mitigate potential risks and take corrective actions in response to laboratory accidents, lapses in protocol and procedures, and potential security breaches".

And there must be a credible risk that the pathogen could be a source of a future human pandemic.

Is it possible to eradicate all diseases?
The goal is to implement "a rigorous process that we really want to be sure we're doing right", NIH director Francis Collins told reporters.

Many scientists have applauded the move, saying that over recent years federal and state preparedness for a pandemic has worsened, with cuts in funding a significant factor.

But Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, told Nature journal that gain-of-function experiments "have done almost nothing to improve our preparedness for pandemics - yet they risked creating an accidental pandemic".

However, he added that if they were to be carried out, he welcomed the extra level of review.



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16 May 2011

'Forgotten' US smallpox vials found in cardboard box
8 July 2014

Anthrax risk for 75 scientists in US
19 June 2014

US orders anthrax review after more live shipments discovered
30 May 2015

US disease labs 'made dangerous pathogen transport errors'
12 July 2014

Experts delay call on releasing controversial H5N1 work
17 February 2012

When should science be censored?
20 December 2011

Offline The Seeker

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Re: US lifts ban on lethal virus experiments
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2017, 08:30:56 AM »
Otter, what concerns me isn't the companies doing research that is known and regulated; it's the hidden ones that aren't...

Do you think that assorted countries around this blue ball are going to tell us what they are working on, or what safeguards and protections they are/aren't taking?

If some pandemic manufactured bug escapes it will more that likely be on foreign soil; with the amount of air travel internationally on a daily basis, what are the odds some damn bug with an incubation period of a week could be contained?

 ::)
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Offline space otter

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Re: US lifts ban on lethal virus experiments
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2017, 09:21:54 AM »


seeker
it's not the germs/bugs/viruses that worry me.. it's the humans handling stuff..
they are human and they have feelings and they sometimes
make mistakes or want to even the score on some level...or they  just get sloppy
i ran an research S100 clean room set up and it is small potatoes compared to what is needed on this level  but it was still high maintainence and human error was the largest cause of problems on many levels

this is one place where i would consider robots as a plus
they would follow protocol to a tee without emotions or Fatigue



Offline The Seeker

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Re: US lifts ban on lethal virus experiments
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2017, 10:31:23 AM »

seeker
it's not the germs/bugs/viruses that worry me.. it's the humans handling stuff..
they are human and they have feelings and they sometimes
make mistakes or want to even the score on some level...or they  just get sloppy
i ran an research S100 clean room set up and it is small potatoes compared to what is needed on this level  but it was still high maintainence and human error was the largest cause of problems on many levels

this is one place where i would consider robots as a plus
they would follow protocol to a tee without emotions or Fatigue
I agree with you, otter, the human factor is what is worrisome; this helps add weight to my point, for in some parts of the world they aren't as stringent as we are over here when it comes to most things...

I did some work several years ago at the CDC in Atlanta replacing an air scrubber unit in one of the labs; we had to wear bio hazard suits and had to seal off the entire duct system until we had the unit replaced then under go major decon procedures as well as they had to do a full blown decon on the duct system exposed while we had the unit out, plus seal the old unit in a triple biopack so it could be disposed of...

That was a very interesting and frustrating 3 days  :o
it would have been very interesting if either of us had managed to poke a hole in a suit or tore a glove on a sharp edge...
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Offline space otter

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Re: US lifts ban on lethal virus experiments
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2017, 11:46:30 AM »

seeker then you and i are on the same page here
and very glad you didn't poke ANY holes in anything

anyway isn't it just an interesting co-winkie-ding to see this headline a few minutes ago

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/reports-north-korea-is-trying-to-fit-its-missiles-with-anthrax/ar-BBH4n9x?li=BBnbfcL

Reports: North Korea Is Trying to Fit Its Missiles With Anthrax
 Newsweek Newsweek
Jack Moore
2 hrs ago

« Last Edit: December 20, 2017, 11:51:06 AM by space otter »

Offline The Seeker

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Re: US lifts ban on lethal virus experiments
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2017, 12:04:25 PM »
seeker then you and i are on the same page here
and very glad you didn't poke ANY holes in anything

anyway isn't it just an interesting co-winkie-ding to see this headline a few minutes ago

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/reports-north-korea-is-trying-to-fit-its-missiles-with-anthrax/ar-BBH4n9x?li=BBnbfcL

Reports: North Korea Is Trying to Fit Its Missiles With Anthrax
 Newsweek Newsweek
Jack Moore
2 hrs ago
Hmm, maybe we need to airmail Kim Jon a couple barrels of Ebola to his bunker  8)
Look closely: See clearly: Think deeply; and Choose wisely...
Trolls are crunchy and good with ketchup...
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Offline Shasta56

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Re: US lifts ban on lethal virus experiments
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2017, 08:17:22 PM »
Just send Kim Jong some Ameican hospital food.  Preferably chicken salad.
Daughter of Sekhmet

 


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