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High-risk R&D: Weaponising research

Image: Grace Gay for Research Professional News

As concerns grow over bioweapons, there is a need for more scrutiny of ‘dual-use’ R&D

 With the global chaos caused by Covid-19 still fresh in their memories, governments and funders are pouring billions into virus research. But fears are swirling that this boon for researchers, science and public health could sow the seeds of future destruction.

In a 2021 report on dual-use research of concern—work that may be designed for good but could be used for harm—the World Health Organization warned that in the next five years, the “influx of funding for research…may facilitate the development of better countermeasures to the [Sars-Cov-2] virus but also the discovery of more virulent strains”.

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