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Published On: Sat, Aug 10th, 2013

Virology expert speaks in favor of proposed H7N9 ‘gain of function’ experiments

Earlier this week, a letter published in the scientific publications, Nature and Science, caused a lot of buzz in the scientific community and to a certain extent, in the general public.

Under a high magnification, this negatively-stained transmission electron micrograph (TEM) captured some of the ultrastructural details exhibited by the new influenza A (H7N9) virus. Image/CDC

Under a high magnification, this negatively-stained transmission electron micrograph (TEM) captured some of the ultrastructural details exhibited by the new influenza A (H7N9) virus.
Image/CDC

A group of scientists, led by Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin-Madison wrote attempting to make their case for performing “gain of function” experiments on the avian influenza A(H7N9) virus, citing multiple reasons it could benefit medical science.

This is clearly controversial with scientists coming out on both sides of the debate, just as they did in 2011 with the H5N1 experiments.

On the Saturday, August 10 airing of Dispatch Radio, Vincent Racaniello Ph.D., Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Columbia University joined us to discuss this issue in more detail (listen below).

Racaniello explained to the radio audience what a gain of function experiment was,  and went on to make his case of why he was for doing it. I also introduced some of the arguments against performing these experiments to the prominent virologist for his response.

More details of Dr. Racaniello’s position on the proposed experiments can be found at Virology Blog

 

Visit Dr. Racaniello’s Facebook page–This Week in Virology 

Related post: China CDC confirms 135th human case of H7N9 bird flu in Guangdong woman, Hong Kong officials concerned

 

 

 

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today.

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  1. […] Source and full article A group of scientists, led by Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin-Madison wrote attempting to make their case for performing “gain of function” experiments on the avian influenza A(H7N9) virus, citing multiple reasons it could benefit medical science. This is clearly controversial with scientists coming out on both sides of the debate, just as they did in 2011 with the H5N1 experiments. […]

  2. […] I spoke with Robert Herriman, executive editor of The Global Dispatch, about the proposed avian influenza H7N9 virus gain of function experiments on Dispatch Radio. […]

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