In 2015 Professor Michael Selgelid was commissioned by the US National Institutes of Health to complete a White Paper providing ethical analysis of “Gain-of-Function” Research.
Gain-of-function (GOF) research involves experimentation that increases the transmissibility and/or virulence of pathogens. The ultimate objective of such research is to better inform public health and preparedness efforts and/or development of medical countermeasures. Despite these important potential benefits, GOF research (GOFR) can pose risks regarding biosecurity and biosafety. In 2014 the administration of US President Barack Obama called for a “pause” on funding (and relevant research with existing US Government funding) of GOF experiments involving influenza, SARS, and MERS viruses in particular. With announcement of this pause, the US Government launched a “deliberative process” regarding risks and benefits of GOFR to inform future funding decisions. (For White House announcement of research pause and deliberative process, see: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/10/17/doing-diligence-assess-risks-and-benefits-life-sciences-gain-function-research.)
As part of this deliberative process the National Institutes of Health (NIH) commissioned Selgelid to produce an Ethical Analysis White providing (1) review and summary of ethical literature on GOFR, (2) identification and analysis of existing ethical and decision-making frameworks relevant to (i) the evaluation of risks and benefits of GOFR, (ii) decision-making about the conduct of GOF studies, and (iii) the development of US policy regarding GOFR (especially with respect to funding of GOFR), and (3) development of an ethical and decision-making framework that may be considered by the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) when analyzing information provided by GOFR risk-benefit assessment, and when crafting its recommendations to the White House.
Selgelid’s work on this project was presented at NSABB meetings in Bethesda, Maryland in September 2015 and January 2016–and at a public US National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Symposium in Washington DC in March 2016. (For published report of latter meeting, see: https://www.nap.edu/catalog/23484/gain-of-function-research-summary-of-the-second-symposium-march)
Following delivery to NSABB, Selgelid’s White Paper was also published in the journal Science and Engineering Ethics, where it is freely available here.
Bioethics, infectious diseases and the battle between good and evil
In April this year, a police officer died from fever and internal bleeding in a small village in the Equateur Province of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Eleven of his family members became ill after the funeral, and seven of them – the ones who had tended the body after his death – also died. Forty-two years after its first appearance, Ebola virus disease had again returned to Africa.
Global Bioethics: A conversation with Professor Michael Selgelid
Professor Michael Selgelid is the Director of the Monash Bioethics Centre (formerly named Centre for … Continue reading Global Bioethics: A conversation with Professor Michael Selgelid
Michael Selgelid Appointed Chair of Global Network of WHO Collaborating Centres for Bioethics
As of 13 June 2016, Professor Michael Selgelid has been appointed Chair of the Global … Continue reading Michael Selgelid Appointed Chair of Global Network of WHO Collaborating Centres for Bioethics
In Monash Magazine–Ebola and the Ethics Question
“Ebola and the Ethics Question” Brad Collis Monash Magazine February 2015 Read article
New Book–On the Dual Uses of Science and Ethics
On The Dual Uses of Science and Ethics: Principles, Practices, and Prospects. Co-edited by Brian … Continue reading New Book–On the Dual Uses of Science and Ethics
New Book–Emergency Ethics
A.M. Viens and Michael J. Selgelid (eds.) Emergency Ethics. Volume I of The Library of … Continue reading New Book–Emergency Ethics
New Book–Ethics and Security Aspects of Infectious Disease Control: Interdisciplinary Perspectives
Christian Enemark and Michael J. Selgelid (eds.) Ethics and Security Aspects of Infectious Disease Control: Interdisciplinary … Continue reading New Book–Ethics and Security Aspects of Infectious Disease Control: Interdisciplinary Perspectives
Infectious Disease Ethics
Michael J. Selgelid, Angela McLean, Nimalan Arinaminpathy, and Julian Savulescu (eds.) Infectious Disease Ethics: Limiting Liberty … Continue reading Infectious Disease Ethics
Health Rights. Co-edited by Michael J. Selgelid and Thomas Pogge. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2010. … Continue reading Health Rights
Ethical and Philosophical Consideration of the Dual-Use Dilemma in the Biological Sciences
Seumas Miller and Michael J. Selgelid. Ethical and Philosophical Consideration of the Dual-Use Dilemma … Continue reading Ethical and Philosophical Consideration of the Dual-Use Dilemma in the Biological Sciences
Ethics and Infectious Disease
Michael J. Selgelid, Margaret P. Battin, and Charles B. Smith (eds.) Ethics and Infectious Disease. … Continue reading Ethics and Infectious Disease
Societal Decision Making and the New Eugenics
Michael J. Selgelid. Societal Decision Making and the New Eugenics. In the Grey Series of … Continue reading Societal Decision Making and the New Eugenics