News Roundup

Scientists manage to manufacture polio virus

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 20 July 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:122
  1. Deborah Josefson
  1. Nebraska

    US scientists have synthesised viable polio virus from scratch, arguably synthesising life and raising questions about biological safety, ethics, and the ability of bioterrorists to replicate the procedure.

    The work was conducted by researchers from the State University of New York in Stonybrook and was funded by the Pentagon in an effort to develop to counter-measures biological warfare. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency provided about $300 000 (£191 630m, €298 531) to fund the programme over three years.

    The scientists, led by Drs Eckhard Wimmer, Aniko Paul, and Jeronimo Cello, constructed the polio virus using commercially available, mail order, nucleic acid base pairs. …

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