A BIOTERRORIST attack could cause another devastating global pandemic, a Harvard tech expert has warned.
Advances in cheap and easily accessible methods of genetic engineering mean bioterrorism has become an increasing threat, according to academic and entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa.
The tech expert argues that while the current coronavirus pandemic crippling countries worldwide was not created in a lab, he warns the next global scourge could be.
“If genetic engineering wasn’t behind this pandemic, it could very well unleash the next one,” said Wadhwa, a distinguished fellow and adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Engineering.
Wadhwa, who is also a distinguished fellow of Harvard Law School’s Labor and Worklife Program, believes the current pandemic should be treated as a “dress rehearsal of what is to come, including viruses deliberately engineered by humans.”
Wadhwa pointing to the ease of access to gene editing kits in the US, reported Business Insider.
Mail-order do-it-yourself kits can be ordered by anyone, with a bacterial engineering kit costing as little as $169 and a human engineering kit just $349.
This ease of accessibility is largely due to the advances of CRISPR gene editing.
CRISPR enables scientists to cut and paste genes, with the possibility of curing or eradicating dangerous diseases, but also of damaging species and ecosystems.
Wadhwa said CRISPR makes it “almost as easy to engineer life forms as it is to edit Microsoft Word documents.” Read Full Article >