How likely is it that biological agents will be used deliberately to cause widespread harm? Policymakers and scientists need to take seriously the possibility that potential pandemic pathogens will be misused

EMBO Rep. 2016 Feb;17(2):127-30. doi: 10.15252/embr.201541674. Epub 2015 Dec 18.


The fact that biological weapons have never been used—at least in recent history—is not sufficient reason to dismiss concerns that terrorists or nations could acquire and use dangerous pathogens as weapons. The ongoing discussion about gain‐of‐function experiments should take this very real prospect more seriously.

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Biomedical Research / organization & administration
  • Biomedical Research / standards*
  • Bioterrorism / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Bioterrorism / prevention & control*
  • Pandemics / prevention & control*
  • Risk Management / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Risk Management / methods*
  • Risk Management / organization & administration