Critics Skeptical as Flu Scientists Argue for Controversial H7N9 Studies

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Science  09 Aug 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6146, pp. 601
DOI: 10.1126/science.341.6146.601


In letters published this week by Science and Nature, 22 flu scientists make a case for launching potentially risky gain-of-function experiments involving the H7N9 avian influenza virus. In 2011, such experiments—which involve giving a virus characteristics it does not yet have in nature, such as the ability to infect new species—sparked a global controversy over research involving the H5N1 bird flu virus. Critics say the risks posed by the studies outweigh benefits and that proponents are overstating their value.