Problems with Avian Influenza GOF Virology

Simon Wain-Hobson, Institut Pasteur, Paris

Speech at the Herrenhausen Symposium "Dual Use Research on Microbes: Biosafety, Biosecurity, Responsibility", 10.12.2014

In his talk Simon Wain-Hobson explains among other things the results of selective screening of ferrets that were deliberately infected with viruses and compares them to the likely evolution by natural selection. He elucidates the transferability of findings to other virus strains and the limits of animal models. Wain-Hobson points out risks as well as benefits from this kind of research like pandemic preparedness by predicting influenza evolution or the ability of making and stockpiling drugs. He also discusses if these theoretical benefits correspond to recent experiences in science and medicine. Wain-Hobson obtained his DPhil in biophysics from the University of Oxford. After his Ph.D. he moved to Paris where he switched to human virology, notably the AIDS virus HIV, from the earliest hour. Being the first to publish its genetic map his group went on to show that it evolved from a chimpanzee virus. He is Professor at the Institut Pasteur, a member of the EMBO, Academia Europaea and is Director of the French papillomavirus reference laboratory. He is presently Board Chair of the Foundation for Vaccine Research in Washington DC.

Photo: David Carreno Hansen for Volkswagen Foundation

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