Virology under the Microscope—a Call for Rational Discourse

Felicia Goodrum, Anice C. Lowen, Seema Lakdawala, James Alwine, Arturo Casadevall, Michael J. Imperiale, Walter Atwood, Daphne Avgousti, Joel Baines, Bruce Banfield, Lawrence Banks, Sumita Bhaduri-McIntosh, Deepta Bhattacharya, Daniel Blanco-Melo, David Bloom, Adrianus Boon, Steeve Boulant, Curtis Brandt, Andrew Broadbent, Christopher BrookeCraig Cameron, Samuel Campos, Patrizia Caposio, Gary Chan, Anna Cliffe, John Coffin, Kathleen Collins, Blossom Damania, Matthew Daugherty, Kari Debbink, James DeCaprio, Terence Dermody, Jimmy Dikeakos, Daniel DiMaio, Rhoel Dinglasan, W. Paul Duprex, Rebecca Dutch, Nels Elde, Michael Emerman, Lynn Enquist, Bentley Fane, Ana Fernandez-Sesma, Michelle Flenniken, Lori Frappier, Matthew Frieman, Klaus Frueh, Michaela Gack, Marta Gaglia, Tom Gallagher, Denise Galloway, Adolfo García-Sastre, Adam Geballe, Britt Glaunsinger, Stephen Goff, Alexander Greninger, Meaghan Hancock, Eva Harris, Nicholas Heaton, Mark Heise, Ekaterina Heldwein, Brenda Hogue, Stacy Horner, Edward Hutchinson, Joseph Hyser, William Jackson, Robert Kalejta, Jeremy Kamil, Stephanie Karst, Frank Kirchhoff, David Knipe, Timothy Kowalik, Michael Lagunoff, Laimonis Laimins, Ryan Langlois, Adam Lauring, Benhur Lee, David Leib, Shan Lu Liu, Richard Longnecker, Carolina Lopez, Micah Luftig, Jennifer Lund, Balaji Manicassamy, Grant McFadden, Michael McIntosh, Andrew Mehle, W. Allen Miller, Ian Mohr, Cary Moody, Nathaniel Moorman, Anne Moscona, Bryan Mounce, Joshua Munger, Karl Münger, Eain Murphy, Mojgan Naghavi, Jay Nelson, Christopher Neufeldt, Janko Nikolich, Christine O'Connor, Akira Ono, Walter Orenstein, David Ornelles, Jing Hsiung Ou, John Parker, Colin Parrish, Andrew Pekosz, Philip Pellett, Julie Pfeiffer, Richard Plemper, Stephen Polyak, John Purdy, Dohun Pyeon, Miguel Quinones-Mateu, Rolf Renne, Charles Rice, John Schoggins, Richard Roller, Charles Russell, Rozanne Sandri-Goldin, Martin Sapp, Luis Schang, Scott Schmid, Stacey Schultz-Cherry, Bert Semler, Thomas Shenk, Guido Silvestri, Viviana Simon, Gregory Smith, Jason Smith, Katherine Spindler, Megan Stanifer, Kanta Subbarao, Wesley Sundquist, Mehul Suthar, Troy Sutton, Andrew Tai, Vera Tarakanova, Benjamin tenOever, Scott Tibbetts, Stephen Tompkins, Zsolt Toth, Koenraad van Doorslaer, Marco Vignuzzi, Nicholas Wallace, Derek Walsh, Michael Weekes, Jason Weinberg, Matthew Weitzman, Sandra Weller, Sean Whelan, Elizabeth White, Bryan Williams, Christiane Wobus, Scott Wong, Andrew Yurochko

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Viruses have brought humanity many challenges: respiratory infection, cancer, neurological impairment and immunosuppression to name a few. Virology research over the last 601 years has responded to reduce this disease burden with vaccines and antivirals. Despite this long history, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented attention to the field of virology. Some of this attention is focused on concern about the safe conduct of research with human pathogens. A small but vocal group of individuals has seized upon these concerns – conflating legitimate questions about safely conducting virus-related research with uncertainties over the origins of SARS-CoV-2. The result has fueled public confusion and, in many instances, ill-informed condemnation of virology. With this article, we seek to promote a return to rational discourse. We explain the use of gain-of-function approaches in science, discuss the possible origins of SARS-CoV-2 and outline current regulatory structures that provide oversight for virological research in the United States. By offering our expertise, we – a broad group of working virologists – seek to aid policy makers in navigating these controversial issues. Balanced, evidence-based discourse is essential to addressing public concern while maintaining and expanding much-needed research in virology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalmSphere
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2023

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus
  • DURC
  • Gain of function
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • biosafety
  • influenza
  • pandemic
  • vaccines
  • zoonosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

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