Biomedical Applications

While there is growing knowledge among policy makers, regulators and the public on modern biotechnology in agriculture, awareness is still lacking in the fields of pharmaceuticals and medical treatments such as gene therapy and xenotransplantation.

The use of GMOs in the production of pharmaceutical products such as insulin and hepatitis vaccines raises issues related to production process, containment and possible human health effects.

The development and imminent commercialization of live GE vaccines is taking place with very little public knowledge and even less regulatory scrutiny. These require specific biosafety assessment and cannot be treated in the same manner as conventional vaccines. They are GMOs and each vaccination is actually a ?release? with all its environmental and health implications. A human and animal health risk that has been identified by some scientists is the creation of new viruses.

Meanwhile, live GE vaccines are already being tested in livestock. These vaccines raise the same issues and concerns.

Rapid developments in biotechnology, genetics and genomics already pose a variety of environmental, ethical, political and social questions. There are now increased biological warfare risks posed by the use of new and emerging technologies used to create new types of biological and bio-chemical weapons. These include material degrading microorganisms. There is a need for more understanding of the scientific research being done, the actual development of these biological weapons as well as the type of government actions required to address associated risks in biosafety frameworks.

US Military Research That Disperses GM Viruses to Plants Could be Misused as Bioweapon

Critics of an agricultural research project by the US Military warn about possible weaponization of the resulting technology, which would use infected insects to deliver genetically modified viruses to plants. […]

Dangerous Proposal for “Gain of Function” Modification of Smallpox Virus Must Never be Approved

Dangerous proposal for “gain of function” modification of smallpox virus must never be approved. […]

Scientists Call for Halt to Smallpox Research

Scientists highlight that there are several reasons to stop all smallpox research can call for the complete and controlled destruction of remaining stocks, while prohibiting any further research. […]

Don’t Open Pandora’s Box of Genetic Engineering of Smallpox

Civil society statement calling on the World Health Assembly not to open the door to the genetic engineering of smallpox and to fix a date for the destruction of the virus stocks. […]

Smallpox Destruction: Key Issues and Recommendations for the 67th WHA

Third World Network calls on WHA member states to fix a destruction date for variola virus stocks and prohibit any extension or expansion of the WHA-approved smallpox research programmme. […]

No Excuse Left but Biotech for Smallpox?

This analysis warns that linking retention of smallpox virus to vague biotechnology-related “threats” may open the Pandora’s Box of genetic engineering of smallpox. […]

Update on the Status of WHO Authorized Research Involving Variola Virus

This update on the status of WHO authorized research involving variola (smallpox) virus finds that the case for fixing a date for destruction of smallpox virus stocks is stronger than ever. […]

Smallpox: WHO Executive Board passes the buck to the World Health Assembly

Discussions on the destruction of the smallpox virus stock at the WHO’s Executive Board meeting (20-25 January 2014) reveal significant disagreement among Member States. […]

TWN Briefing Note on Smallpox for WHO Executive Board (January 2013)

This TWN briefing note on smallpox for the WHO Executive Board meeting (January 2013) argues that it would be important to begin the process of preparation for fixing a destruction date for the remaining virus stocks now, in order to adopt a resolution to that effect at the 67th WHA. […]

TWN Brief on Smallpox for WHO Executive Board (Jan 2012)

This TWN brief summarizes key issues on variola virus for the WHO Executive Board’s 130th Session, beginning in Geneva on 16 January 2012. […]