Evolution, safety, and highly pathogenic influenza viruses

Marc Lipsitch, Joshua B Plotkin, Lone Simonsen, Barry Bloom

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Experience with influenza has shown that predictions of virus phenotype or fitness from nucleotide sequence are imperfect, and that predicting the timing and course of evolution is extremely difficult. Such uncertainty means that the risk of experiments with mammalian-transmissible, possibly highly virulent influenza viruses remains high even if some aspects of their laboratory biology are reassuring; it also implies limitations on the ability of laboratory observations to guide interpretation of surveillance of strains in the field. Given these considerations, we propose that future experiments with virulent pathogens whose accidental or deliberate release could lead to extensive spread in human populations should be limited by explicit risk-benefit considerations, in the United States and worldwide.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScience
Volume336
Issue number6088
Pages (from-to)1529–1531
ISSN0036-8075
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Cite this

Lipsitch, M., Plotkin, J. B., Simonsen, L., & Bloom, B. (2012). Evolution, safety, and highly pathogenic influenza viruses. Science, 336(6088), 1529–1531.
Lipsitch, Marc ; Plotkin, Joshua B ; Simonsen, Lone ; Bloom, Barry. / Evolution, safety, and highly pathogenic influenza viruses. In: Science. 2012 ; Vol. 336, No. 6088. pp. 1529–1531.
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Lipsitch, M, Plotkin, JB, Simonsen, L & Bloom, B 2012, 'Evolution, safety, and highly pathogenic influenza viruses', Science, vol. 336, no. 6088, pp. 1529–1531.

Evolution, safety, and highly pathogenic influenza viruses. / Lipsitch, Marc; Plotkin, Joshua B; Simonsen, Lone; Bloom, Barry.

In: Science, Vol. 336, No. 6088, 2012, p. 1529–1531.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Evolution, safety, and highly pathogenic influenza viruses

AU - Lipsitch, Marc

AU - Plotkin, Joshua B

AU - Simonsen, Lone

AU - Bloom, Barry

PY - 2012

Y1 - 2012

N2 - Experience with influenza has shown that predictions of virus phenotype or fitness from nucleotide sequence are imperfect, and that predicting the timing and course of evolution is extremely difficult. Such uncertainty means that the risk of experiments with mammalian-transmissible, possibly highly virulent influenza viruses remains high even if some aspects of their laboratory biology are reassuring; it also implies limitations on the ability of laboratory observations to guide interpretation of surveillance of strains in the field. Given these considerations, we propose that future experiments with virulent pathogens whose accidental or deliberate release could lead to extensive spread in human populations should be limited by explicit risk-benefit considerations, in the United States and worldwide.

AB - Experience with influenza has shown that predictions of virus phenotype or fitness from nucleotide sequence are imperfect, and that predicting the timing and course of evolution is extremely difficult. Such uncertainty means that the risk of experiments with mammalian-transmissible, possibly highly virulent influenza viruses remains high even if some aspects of their laboratory biology are reassuring; it also implies limitations on the ability of laboratory observations to guide interpretation of surveillance of strains in the field. Given these considerations, we propose that future experiments with virulent pathogens whose accidental or deliberate release could lead to extensive spread in human populations should be limited by explicit risk-benefit considerations, in the United States and worldwide.

M3 - Journal article

VL - 336

SP - 1529

EP - 1531

JO - Science

JF - Science

SN - 0036-8075

IS - 6088

ER -

Lipsitch M, Plotkin JB, Simonsen L, Bloom B. Evolution, safety, and highly pathogenic influenza viruses. Science. 2012;336(6088):1529–1531.