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Moratorium on Research Intended to Create Novel Potential Pandemic Pathogens

Marc Lipsitch, Thomas Inglesby
Date posted:
December 12, 2014
Publication type:

mBio 2014;5(6):e02366-14

American Society for Microbiology
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Research on highly pathogenic organisms is crucial for medicine and public health, and we strongly support it. This work creates a foundation of new knowledge that provides critical insights around the world’s most deadly infectious diseases, and it can lay groundwork for the future development of new diagnostics, medicines, and vaccines. Almost all such research can be performed in ways that pose negligible or no risk of epidemic or global spread of a novel pathogen. However, research that aims to create new potential pandemic pathogens (PPP) (1)—novel microbes that combine likely human virulence with likely efficient transmission in humans—is an exception to that rule. While this research represents a tiny portion of the experimental work done in infectious disease research, it poses extraordinary potential risks to the public.



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