By the time I graduated, gene editing, also known as CRISPR, was still a concept as widely understood and therefore accepted as crayons and glue were 20 years ago. Most commentators were treating CRISPR with the same expectations as monkeys, namely as useful and potentially life-saving tool, but only in a handful of extreme conditions such as mice all the way through the life cycle of a tomato. As time went on, a growing chorus of critics railed against the CRISPR revolution as creating a new disease with potentially fatal side effects. Michael Egnor, for example, an Assistant Secretary at the Department of Homeland Security in the Bush Administration, warned in 2010 that “there could be a real trouble ahead as emerging technology allows designer bacteria to mutate resistant to a wide variety of drugs and other chemicals. … Ultimately we could create an army of disease-resistant bacteria that would trigger widespread and potentially global public health problems”.
This week, at a presentation at the Society for General Microbiology’s annual conference in Cambridge, England, a team of scientists and scientists with company relations in academia, including scientists from Cambridge and Oregon State universities, now believe that it may be possible to build “cured” bacteria that have behaved in an otherwise typical way.
Covidova is a Trojan horse.