On Tuesday, Dec. 19, officials from the Department of Health and Human Services met and terminated the ban for creating lethal viruses.
Why Does This Matter?
According to the National Public Radio, “the research involves three viruses — influenza, SARS, and MERS — that could kill millions if they mutated in a way that let the germs spread quickly among people.”
Why Was There a Ban?
In 2014, health officials discovered that the institution conducting scientific research on the creation of lethal viruses was exposing workers and risking their lives because of an unsafe research environment. Because of that, a ban was placed and research was not allowed to continue.
Why Are Scientists Trying To Create Viruses That Could Ultimately Take Many Lives?
Scientists’ argument as for why they should be allowed to create lethal viruses is that it is necessary for research to move forward and science to improve. In order for future pandemics, we must have prior knowledge about potentially deadly viruses, according to said scientists.
What Happened on Tuesday?
In the announcement made on Tuesday, officials stated that the research could only continue if an institution dealt with it properly, in a safe manner and had a back-up plan if things should go awry. They also released a plan that had all of the framework for the research’s continuation. Along with that, the Framework for Guiding Funding Decisions about Proposed Research Involving Enhanced Potential Pandemic Pathogens clearly states that the research has to be “ethically justifiable,” as well as “must be reasonably judged to be a credible source of a potential future human pandemic.”
What Do People Have To Say About The Decision Reached On Tuesday?
Former Director of the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Tom Frieden, supports the lifting of the ban and stated that the research conducted would help scientists tremendously and aid them with the “ultimate goal of learning how to stop [viruses].”