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עמוד בית
Sun, 14.07.24

Focus

IMAJ | volume 16

Journal 11, November 2014
pages: 677-682

Protecting Public Health in the Age of Emerging Infections

    Summary

    Emerging and re-emerging infections cause huge concern among public health workers and international and national bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Indeed, scientists around the world express the view that despite the danger, research on these emerging virulent pathogens is crucial and must continue. While most of the studies underway are targeted at improving and protecting public health, some studies bear potentially serious risks resulting from misuse. These studies are defined as dual-use research (DUR) of concern, where it is not evident that the benefits outweigh the risks. The H5N1 controversy has pushed various governments to institute new policies to govern such research. We describe the regulations that govern this emerging field of research in the United States and Israel, two countries that have taken leading stands on these issues. We suggest that the existing policies are able to mitigate many of the risks that this research encapsulates, yet more work is required – especially on the global level.

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