EDITORIAL

Culture of responsibility

Science  05 Sep 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6201, pp. 1101
DOI: 10.1126/science.1260424

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Summary

The current crisis with the Ebola virus vividly illustrates the priority that must be given to infectious diseases because of their potentially devastating consequences to individuals and to society. Few would argue against the need for more research on Ebola and the expedited development of a cure; however, recent incidents in biocontainment laboratories and the proliferation of such facilities globally raise concerns about safety and have split the scientific community. Scientists who defend research on dangerous pathogens as vital to protecting populations are opposed by those who fear the potential devastation caused by the intentional or unintentional release of pathogens from the lab. Achieving a “culture of safety,” so often alluded to after recent lapses in biosafety procedures, demands adopting a “culture of responsibility” as well.