Moratorium on risky experiments lifted for MERS mouse studies

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country The U.S. government has lifted a temporary ban on research attempting to develop an animal model for the MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) virus, a deadly coronavirus spreading from camels to people in the Middle East.On 17 October, in an unusual move, the U.S. government halted federal funding for risky studies on MERS, SARS, or influenza that tweak these viruses to make them more pathogenic or transmissible by respiration in mammals. Among the 18 stopped projects were at least five working on adapting the MERS virus to mice in order to generate a strain that sickens the animals. That could ease studies aimed at understanding the virus and developing vaccines and drugs. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Emailcenter_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe The funding pause came as a shock to MERS researchers. At various meetings, including one at the National Academy of Sciences this week, they argued that developing an animal model for MERS is crucial for addressing the virus, which has infected at least 938 people and killed one-third of them. They applied for an exemption, spelled out in the moratorium policy, that allows for continuing work “urgently necessary to protect the public health.”That exemption has now been approved for at least some of these projects. “We are very happy,” says Matthew Frieman of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, who got a call from his program officer at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) yesterday. NIAID intramural researcher Kanta Subbarao said her project to develop a rabbit model for MERS has also been exempted; the National Institutes of Health had not responded to a request about the other projects at press time.*Update, 18 December, 3:20 p.m.: NIH confirmed today that all five projects working on a mouse model for MERS have been exempted from the pause. Two influenza studies have also been granted an exception; no requests for an exemption have been denied.last_img