Banning Dangerous Research: Hindering Vaccination Development

By Charissa Echavez | Sep 06, 2015 10:01 PM EDT

The gain of function (GOF) studies has been around for years. It's more popular for the term mutation, which scientists have been applying to a lot of things such as viruses, to create more potent and high class deadly virus and eventually find the cure or the perfect vaccine that could fight against the current deadly viral diseases such as MERS, SARS and Influenza.

Scientist for years has been researching and conducting studies on existing viruses to make it more deadly and dangerous. This research by Dr. Yoshihiro Kawaoka of UW-Madison published in the Nature Communications journal a high yield vaccine model came out from his research to create fatal and viral pathogens, which was cancelled abruptly in October 2014.

The U.S. Government halted the funds for the research due to precautionary measure and high risks of an outbreak and ordered a review on the details of the pros and cons of the study. As new diseases evolve and they get stronger we also need to create stronger vaccines to protect us from outbreaks such as the avian flu. The continuing issue here would be on the development of the vaccines are the constant mutation of the flu virus that would need new vaccines personalised to fight the mutated virus. This would be a constant renewal of new proteins to be combined and built to be more efficient and firm standard backbone on top of the proteins that are currently on the circulation. However, the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity advised the U.S. Government to wait on the analysis on GOF research policies.

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In the most recent study, Dr. Kawaoka's team spontaneously mutated in the backbone of the virus the genes that would give a stock of variations and tested each of them with a wide variety of different surface proteins. He stressed that the risk on their experiment doesn't include leakages in regards to the process of creating a deadly virus that could be dangerous with the wrong motive. Immunologist Arturo Casedevall, at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said that Kawaoka's work was "tremendously important", that the delays on the GOF controversy may discourage other scientists from experimental work that's clearly in public interest. 

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