From A brief, terrifying history of viruses escaping from labs. The opening para.
The public health danger posed by potentially pandemic-causing viruses escaping from laboratories has become the subject of considerable discussion, spurred by “gain of function” experiments. The ostensible goal of these experiments—in which researchers manipulate already-dangerous pathogens to create or increase communicability among humans—is to develop tools to monitor the natural emergence of pandemic strains. Opponents, however, warn in a variety of recentresearchpapersthat the risk of laboratory escape of these high-consequence pathogens far outweighs any potential advance.
The virtual certainty is, however, that there are more we don’t know about. And the only reason this one has become notorious is because it could be used as a vehicle to steal the election in 2020.