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J Infect Dis September 27, 2015
The ongoing moratorium on gain-of-function (GOF) research with highly pathogenic avian influenza and SARS and MERS coronaviruses has drawn attention to the current debate on these research practices and the potential benefits and risks they present. While much of the discussion has been steered by members of the microbiology and policy communities, additional input from medical practitioners will be highly valuable toward developing a broadly inclusive policy that considers the relative value and harm of GOF research. This review attempts to serve as a primer on the topic for the clinical community by providing a historical context for GOF research, summarizing concerns about its risks, and surveying the medical products which it has yielded.