The risk and benefits of gain-of-function studies on influenza A have been widely debated since 2012 when the methods to create two respiratory transmissible H5N1 mutant isolates were published. Opponents of gain-of-function studies argue the biosecurity risk is unacceptable, while proponents cite potential uses for pandemic surveillance, preparedness and mitigation. In this commentary, we provide an overview of the background and applications of gain-of-function research and argue that the anticipated benefits have yet to materialize while the significant risks remain.
- public health surveillance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases