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The Influenza Controversy: Should Limits Be Placed on Science?


  • Lawrence O. Gostin


Should government have the power to place limits on a scientific pursuit that holds the potential for both good and harm—on what is called “dual-use research”? That is the highly charged question surrounding research to genetically modify influenza A (H5N1) to render it more easily transmissible from human to human. There is seldom a “right” answer to dual-use research, but a fair, inclusive, and transparent process—building on the NSABB model—should improve decision-making. A local institutional panel should evaluate dual-use research based on the following structured ethical framework.

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