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Links for 2020-02-22

  • A biotech firm made a smallpox-like virus on purpose. Nobody seems to care – Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

    The loosely regulated market for synthetic DNA, the normalization of synthetic orthopoxvirus research, and a large number of capable facilities and researchers creates an environment in which a rogue state, unscrupulous company, reckless scientist, or terrorist group could potentially reintroduce one of the worst microbial scourges in human history. Unless world bodies, national governments, and scientific organizations put in place stronger safeguards on synthetic virus research, the next press release touting a new breakthrough in synthetic biology might announce that an unknown scientist in an obscure lab has successfully resurrected the smallpox virus.

    (tags: smallpox weapons scary diseases biological-weapons dna viruses)