In his most recent book The Genesis MachineAmy Webb, author and founder of the Future Today Institute, warns that terrorists could create synthesized viruses in a lab and use them for “nefarious purposes.”
Webb explains that scientists have already managed to replicate potentially harmful viruses, such as poliovirus and smallpox.
While some claim that this type of work could fuel new scientific advances, others point to government-funded sabotage.
In his book, Webb claims that in 2011 Ron Fouchier, a virologist at the Erasmus Medical Center, was able to change the DNA of the H5N1 bird flu virus to make it transmissible from birds to humans and between humans.
The writer mentions that Fouchier’s research was funded by the United States government. In fact, due to the serious risks involved, the National Scientific Advisory Council for Biosafety asked academic journals to write parts of the article to ensure that the details did not end up in the “wrong hands”.
The problem is that open-source research papers and mail-order genetic material used in home labs could fall into “dangerous” hands, according to the researchers.
In effect, they warn that engineered pathogens could be used to build unnatural biological weapons.
“Traditional force protection (security strategies to keep populations safe) will not work against an adversary that has adapted gene products or designer molecules for use as biological weapons,” Webb writes in his book.
A similar view is held by biosafety expert Piers Millet: “If you are deliberately trying to create a pathogen that is deadly, spreads easily, and that we don’t have adequate public health measures in place to mitigate, then that thing you create is among the most dangerous things in the world. planet”.
For this reason, the scientific community clarifies that it is necessary to monitor this type of work as closely as is done with the development of nuclear technologies.