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Title:
Assessing the Bioweapons Threat
Authors:
Crystal Boddie, Matthew Watson, Gary Ackerman, Gigi Kwik Gronvall
Publication:
Science 21 Aug 2015;349(6250):792-793
Publisher:
American Association for the Advancement of Science
DOI:
10.1126/science.aab0713
Date posted:
August 21, 2015
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Introduction:

The U.S. government (USG) has taken steps intended to diminish the likelihood of misuse of research—in one recent action, declaring a funding moratorium on gain-of-function studies on influenza until a risk-benefit analysis can be conducted (1). The analysis is expected to examine biosafety concerns, the potential for such research to produce a biological weapons agent, and the possibility that publication may lower barriers to bioweapons development (1). To analyze the security risks of biological research, however, it is first necessary to determine the likelihood that bioweapons will threaten national security and to what degree legitimate research is at risk of misuse. This type of assessment is fraught with uncertainty.