United Nations must establish a treaty to stop the Gain of Function Research on viruses

United Nations must establish a treaty to stop the Gain of Function Research on viruses

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Dr Abdul Ghafur MD MRCP FRCPath started this petition to United Nations and

Gain of Function (GoF) research involves manipulations that make certain pathogenic viruses more or less virulent or transmissible or both. Such research is done by genetically engineering the virus and allowing them to grow in different growth mediums –a technique called serial passage. Supporters of the GoF research argue that this research is necessary to develop vaccines and therapeutics. Gain of function research help scientists to better predict emerging infectious diseases by “getting ahead of the virus to prevent natural spillovers”. Proponents of GoF research believe "nature is the ultimate bioterrorist and we need to do all we can to stay one step ahead”. However, the available published data on the research on genetically modified/chimeric viruses are a cause for concern. We cannot rule out a future possibility of potential laboratory leaks of any of these viruses. There are documented incidents of laboratory leaks in the past, including dangerous organisms such as smallpox virus, Anthrax bacteria and SARS virus. History may repeat itself unless we initiate sincere and urgent measures both to prevent such incidents and to prevent the construct of genetically modified viruses that are more virulent or more transmissible than their natural counterparts. SARS-CoV-2 may or may not be the result of GoF research, but the very debate on the subject indicates that the potential for lab manipulations does exist. Covid-19 pandemic taught us the destructive power of viruses on humanity. Our armamentarium is not big enough to deal with the pandemics created by Mother Nature. In addition to this, we do not want to create a global catastrophe with viruses with GoF that we make.

United Nations must establish a treaty to stop Gain of Function research of all kinds and destroy any existing stockpiles of chimeric viruses if held by any member countries.

 

 

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