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Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Thinking after acting

Though people can misuse this information, there is a compelling need for scientists to be aware of these mutations so that effective drugs and vaccines can be developed. Little wonder that both editors have reacted strongly to censorship and demanded that a mechanism be put in place to ensure that bona fide scientists have full and complete access to the results. This has finally prompted the U.S. government to act. It is also working on an oversight policy to evaluate dual-use research proposals prior to approval and funding. But the biggest concern is the risk of the new strain escaping from the labs. According to Nature, scientists working on SARS at four “high-containment labs” in China, Taiwan, and Singapore were “infected.” And the 395 bio-safety breaches in the U.S. between 2003 and 2009 could have resulted in the “accidental release of dangerous pathogens from high-containment labs.”

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