Rethinking gain-of-function experiments in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

Michael J. Imperiale, Arturo Casadevall

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


Proponents of the use of gain-of-function (GOF) experiments with pathogens with pandemic potential (PPP) have argued that such experiments are necessary because they reveal important facets of pathogenesis and can be performed safely. Opponents of GOF experiments with PPP have argued that the risks outweigh the knowledge gained. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the vulnerability of human societies to a new PPP, while also validating some arguments of both camps, questioning others, and suggesting the need to rethink how we approach this class of experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01868-20
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020


  • Biosafety
  • Bioterrorism
  • Policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Virology


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