Gain-of-Function Research

Report of a Debate between Prof. Giorgio Palù and Prof. Simon Wain-Hobson

Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen

2014 | 19 pages | free

This debate will concentrate on the benefits and risks of so called gain-of-function research. The H5N1 research projects conducted by the groups of the virologists Fouchier and Kawaoka have led to debate about this kind of research. In that context gain-of-function refers to research that increases the transmissibility, increases the pathogenicity, or alters the host range of H5N1 viruses. However, there are other definitions and interpretations of gain-of-function. One of the main purposes of this debate is to get to more clarity on this question of gain-of-function.