December 2015: Influenza virus Gain of Function studies. Discussing a controversial topic.

Gain of Function (GoF) studies in influenza virus research are highly controversial: On one hand, they promise a better understanding about occurrence and prevention of lethal and pandemic influenza stains. On the other hand, wide public concerns about risk factors like accidental release and bioterrorism exist.  Every researcher in the field of pathogens has to be aware that research can be a two sided sword or is at least perceived as such in large groups of the population. In the recent publication ‘European academies advise on Gain of Function studies in influenza virus research’, Fears and ter Meulen present and comment on the recommendations of the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) on GoF research and might give food for thought or at least arguments in discussions.