Skip to Content

Bacteria. Stock photo from Pixabay

Scientists call for an immediate end to ‘gain-of-function’ research

The dangerous experiments with pathogens with global pandemic potential should stop, said Prof Roland Wiesendanger from the University of Hamburg in Germany and organiser of the call to end gain-of-function research.

Published: February 23, 2022, 9:40 am

    “The current pandemic has taught us what devastating effects it can have when pathogens become extremely easily transmissible from person to person, even if the mortality rate due to the virus is only in the range of one percent or less. For at least ten years, dangerous pathogens such as avian flu viruses or SARS-like viruses have been adapted to human cells within the framework of so-called ‘gain-of-function‘ research, which involves an enormously high risk for the outbreak of worldwide pandemics. Such research projects continue to be financed – partly with public money – and this with much more dangerous viruses, some with lethality rates above 50 percent,” the authors said.

    A virologist at a respected US research institute recently summed up the potential danger succinctly in one sentence as follows: “This pandemic is nothing compared to what comes next when we get airborne Nipah or Ebola.”

    It is the responsibility of scientists and the media worldwide to point out this huge potential danger and to sensitise politicians as well as society as a whole. A group of scientists from various disciplines as well as from numerous countries in Europe, America, Asia and New Zealand are therefore now addressing the global community with the following “Hamburg Declaration 2022” with the aim of immediately ending the “gain-of-function” experiments with pathogens that are dangerous for humans.

    This declaration was created in the spirit of the 1957 Göttingen Declaration, which drew attention to the potential danger posed by nuclear weapons systems.

    Hamburg Declaration 2022

    Conscious of the mission and responsibility of science and research to serve the welfare of humankind, to strive for truth and to communicate the knowledge gained to the general public, the signatories of this declaration wish to draw attention to a major threat to human existence that has arisen in recent years as a result of novel biotechnical processes for modifying dangerous pathogens.

    Through so-called “gain-of-function” research, naturally occurring viruses are adapted by altering their gene sequence to facilitate their docking with and invasion of human cells. This creates an enormous potential for a pandemic, which responsible scientists and researchers have repeatedly pointed out over the past decade. Such research has been conducted in recent years on various highly dangerous pathogens such as avian flu viruses and SARS-like coronaviruses, and this has been documented in the scientific literature. Much of this work has also been done as part of publicly funded research projects.

    The current Corona pandemic clearly shows what it means when pathogens are extremely easily transmitted from person to person. We have to mourn millions of deaths worldwide and billions of people are threatened in their existence or have lost it completely. The enormous damage to humanity occurred even though the mortality rate of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is only in the percentage range. There are indications that much more dangerous viruses such as MERS, Ebola or Nipah viruses are being genetically manipulated in various biotechnology laboratories around the world. The outcome of such experiments is often difficult or impossible to predict. However, no biotechnology laboratory in the world is safe enough to guarantee that such genetically modified viruses will not escape. A catastrophic event could be fatal for a substantial proportion of the world’s population, especially if the transmissibility of highly dangerous viruses via the human respiratory tract is facilitated by genetic modification.

    We as scientists are aware of the importance of freedom of science and research. Nevertheless, we appeal to all politicians in the world to ensure that this “gain-of-function” research on pathogens with global pandemic potential is stopped immediately. The risk associated with this research and the potential of wiping out large parts of the world’s population are no longer responsible. We demand that the halt be controlled and continuously monitored by an independent international supervisory authority.

    Regardless of the form of government of the countries of this world, it must be the concern of every responsible leader to contribute to the well-being of the population of his or her own country, but also of humanity as a whole. Humans have learned to intervene in the basic molecular building blocks of life. This gives rise to many opportunities to improve human life, but also to a great responsibility to preserve creation. Let us take this responsibility seriously before it is too late.

    Roland Wiesendanger, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c., Nanoscientist, University of Hamburg, Germany (Organizer)

    Hiroshi Arakawa, Dr., Institute of Molecular Oncology, IFOM, Milan, Italy

    Ute Bergner, Dr., Physicist, Jena, Germany

    Consider donating to support our work

    Help us to produce more articles like this. FreeWestMedia is depending on donations from our readers to keep going. With your help, we expose the mainstream fake news agenda.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Europe

    Berlin: 2777 knife attacks in one year

    BerlinThroughout Germany, knife crime has increased dramatically in recent years. Whether in the pedestrian zone or on the ICE, at fairs or in department stores – the uncertainty has grown dramatically because aggressive stabbers can now be expected anywhere. An open secret is that the perpetrators disproportionately often come from migrant milieus.

    Qatar gas contract signals more problems for Germany

    BerlinA month-long tragedy has finally found its happy ending – albeit rather symbolically. After Federal Economics Minister Habeck (Greens) was rebuffed in Qatar in the spring when he was looking for a replacement for the boycotted Russian gas, reports of an agreement are now making the rounds.

    Whites a minority in Britain’s largest cities

    LondonWhite Britons no longer form a majority in the two largest English cities for the first time in history.

    Parallel society: Ukrainian children in German schools

    MunichAround one million Ukrainians have left their homeland due to the war in recent months and sought refuge in Germany. Among the refugees are tens of thousands of children who are now going to school in Germany. But there are simply too many and the problems are mounting.

    Zelensky entrusts management of private investments in Ukraine to BlackRock

    KievThe Ukrainian government is teaming up with American investment firm BlackRock to "reboot its economy". A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on November 10, the Ukrainian Economy Ministry announced the next day. This agreement concerns the creation of a platform to attract private capital.

    Climate fanatics target airports

    BerlinThe climate fanatics of the Last Generation are no longer an annoying nuisance but have become a danger to life and limb due to the benevolent approval of Germany's spy chief Thomas Haldenwang. Their actions are increasingly radical, on the verge of terrorism aimed at airports and concert halls.

    Moroccans trash Belgian cities after WC victory

    BrusselsVictory turned into a riot on Sunday 27 November, as violence broke out in Brussels after the victory of the Moroccan team against Belgium in the football World Cup. The Atlas Lions won by two goals to nil and thus triumphed over the Belgian team.

    ‘Migrants only ever lose their passports, never their knives’

    TraiskirchenAgainst the background of the continuing mass influx of asylum seekers, the Austrian FPÖ presents itself again with a winning campaign to deal with the crisis. At a press conference on Wednesday, three leading FPÖ politicians gave more details – in Traiskirchen, Lower Austria, of all places, which is the seat of a large first reception center and has been a "hot spot" for the mass influx for months.

    Twitter’s Brussels office dismantled

    BrusselsThe move by Elon Musk to rid the online platform of "woke" ideologues, has sparked EU concern over online content control. With Twitter dismantling its entire Brussels office, some EU officials claim the platform will no longer comply with their new rules on controlling online content.

    In 4 years, 343 terror convicts have been released in France

    ParisPrisoners convicted of terrorism-related offences are monitored by the judiciary and intelligence services upon their release. This has been a huge cost to French taxpayers.

    Go to archive