Thursday, October 06, 2005

The two-edged sword of bio-technology

This post is another on the two-edge sword of technology (For the first post see: The dawn of a new era with both risks and rewards).

The news that the 1918 Spanish flu virus was recently recreated by scientists prompted this comment:
"Once the genetic sequence is publicly available, there's a theoretical risk that any molecular biologist with sufficient knowledge could recreate this virus," said Dr John Wood, a virologist at the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control in Potters Bar.
This is a similar 'Damned if you do, damned if you don't' scenario that local Meridian Bioscience faced when it provided proficiency samples containing influenza A virus to testing labs.

Scientists need the original pathogens to develop tests and vaccines, but it has to be done in a way that would limit a rogue mad scientist/terrorist from accessing a virus with an intent to do harm.

It's a very challening issue for a society built on technology. It reinforces the case for The Golden Rule as a universal moral principle and the integration of bio/social-ethics in the educational process as we accelerate into our brave new world.


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