Professor Marc Lipsitch will be giving a talk on recent experiments with potential pandemic pathogens and their ethical alternatives on September 25th. Professor Lipsitch is a professor of epidemiology and the director of the Centre for Communicable Disease Dynamics at Harvard University.
Abstract: “A growing trend in experimental virology has been the modification of influenza viruses that are antigenically novel to, and virulent in humans, such that these variant viruses are readily transmissible in mammals, including ferrets which are thought to be the best animal model for influenza infection. Novel, contagious, virulent viruses are potential pandemic pathogens in that their accidental or malevolent release into the human population could cause a pandemic. This talk will describe the purported benefits of such studies, arguing that these are overstated; estimate the magnitude of the risk they create, argue for the superiority of alternative scientific approaches on both safety and scientific grounds, and propose an ethical framework in which such experiments should be evaluated.”
The talk will take place at FHI at 16:30. For more information about experiments on potential pandemic pathogens, please see here. For more information about Professor Lipsitch and his research, please see here.