Dual Use Research Cons

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Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC) is defined as “life sciences research that, based on current understanding, can be reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, information, products, or technologies that could be directly misapplied to pose a significant threat with broad potential consequences to public health and safety, agricultural crops and other plants, animals, the environment, materiel, or national security” (Dermody et. al, 1). This concern first arose in 2001 when people were mailing letters containing anthrax, and also when researchers found a way to kill vaccinated mice by injecting them with mousepox that had IL-4 injected in the virus. This led to some controversial debates regarding whether or not it would be appropriate…show more content…
Nevertheless, DURC experiments should be published and not censored based on the principle of Maximizing Benefits and Minimizing Harms. It is necessary for these studies to be taken place in order for further development in therapeutics and possibly eradicating new diseases and prepare the population in case of a pandemic. According to Trevan, almost all biological knowledge can be either misused or applied for good. If there were to be someone whose intention were to create a bioterror weapon using a live, highly transmittable organism censorship would not be that big of a barrier to cross. Since many people’s concern is biosafety, an uncontrollable weapon is unsuited to targeted attacks and its use would leave its effects on the user as well. Trevan also states that the number of people who would ever be interested in causing this type of damage would be extremists who think humans are the problem but their numbers are very small, and censorship will not stop them. Even if we censor the publications, we cannot prevent deadly diseases from occurring, sometimes they occur, like flu pandemics, etc. Other scientists may think that banishing publication or limiting procedures of the DURC experiments can prevent people from creating new transmissible, virulent organisms, but the risk for this to happen is quite small. It should be noted that as the world evolves, and new findings have come to light, the risks and benefits will both multiply. There will be the risk of people that will want to use these experiments in a malevolent way to harm society. However, the known benefits of addressing public-health challenges from nature will almost always far outweigh the potential and unknowable increased risk of misuse (Trevan, 292). Although there might some
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