Relman: Tilt toward virological safey


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CISAC Co-Director David Relman speaks to NPR about U.S. virologists who are being impacted by a government moratorium on certain kinds of experiments.

The government's move came in the wake of some high-profile lab mishaps at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, plus some extremely controversial flu experiments.

Those flu studies made a deadly bird flu virus called H5N1 more contagious between ferrets, the lab stand-in for people. The goal of that work was to whether this flu virus might mutate in the wild and start a pandemic in people. Critics were aghast. What if this lab-made super-flu escaped?

I don't think it's wise or appropriate for us to create large risks that don't already exist," says Relman, a microbiologist here at Stanford.

You can listen to the full NPR story here.