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New Paradigms: The debate on potential pandemic pathogen creation

The White House recently announced a nearly unprecedented decision to suspend federal funding for "gain-of-function" experiments on influenza, SARS and MERS viruses pending a risk-benefit assessment of such experiments.

In the final installment of the "New Paradigms for an Ever-Changing World" lecture series, Harvard School of Public Health (HSPS) epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch explored the risk and benefits of these "gain-of-function" experiments. In this fascinating presentation, Lipsitch—who also serves as director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at HSPH—proposes alternative approaches to achieve public health goals that avoid both constraining discovery and putting human life at risk.