Volume 22 Issue 3 3 March 2021
Science & Society 21 February 2021 Free Access
A CRISPR response to pandemics?: Exploring the ethics of genetically engineering the human immune system
Federico Germani, Sebastian Wäscher, Nikola Biller‐Andorno
Ethical challenges should be addressed before gene editing is made available to improve the immune response against emerging viruses.
… It would therefore be extremely helpful from a public health perspective—and indeed lifesaving for those with elevated risk of developing severe course of the disease—if we could boost the human immune system by other means to better fight off SARS‐CoV‐2 and possibly other viruses. Recent studies showing that some individuals may be less susceptible to contract severe COVID‐19 depending on their genetic status support such visions (COVID‐19 Host Genetics Initiative, 2020). This could eventually inspire research projects on gene therapy with the aim of generally enhancing immunity against viral infections….