Now 39 researchers have commented on the controversy in statement that was printed in both science magazines. “We realize that we [. . . ] must clearly state the benefits of this important research and the steps that are being taken to minimize the potential risks, ”the researchers said. To this end, they want to convene an international forum at which the scientific community will debate these issues. A voluntary moratorium of 60 days is exactly the right thing at this point.
Ron Fouchier, one of the initiators of the moratorium, regrets having to take this step: “It is pity that it has come to this. I would have preferred if the whole thing hadn't caused such great deal of controversy. ”On the question of whether published research could possibly give terrorists an advantage, Fouchier is clear:“ No. Because bio-terrorists cannot produce the virus, it is too complex, you need lot of expert knowledge. And rogue states that have the capacity to do it don't need our information. ”
How important that The exchange of information between researchers is, describes the virologist Peter Palese (Nature 2012; 481: 115): “My colleagues and I were at the center of similar controversy when we reconstructed the flu virus of 1918 in 2005 [. . . ]. If we hadn't reconstructed the virus and shared our results with the scientific community, we would still be living in fear of wicked scientist who is restoring the Spanish flu and releasing it into an unprotected world. Now we know that such worst-case scenario is no longer possible. "EB