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Med Sci (Paris). 2019 Feb;35(2):181-186. doi: 10.1051/medsci/2019005. Epub 2019 Feb 18.

[The eradication of infectious viral diseases endangered by advances in synthetic biology].

[Article in French]

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Institut de recherche biomédicale des armées, Unité Biothérapies anti-infectieuses et immunité, Département Microbiologie et maladies infectieuses, 1, place général Valérie André, 91220 Brétigny-sur-Orge, France - Institut Pasteur, unité génomique virale et vaccination, CNRS UMR-3569, 25, rue du Docteur Roux, 75015 Paris, France - École du Val-de-Grâce, 74, boulevard de Port-Royal, 75005 Paris, France.


The eradication of infectious diseases is one of the oldest dreams of mankind. It has been materialized only once in History with smallpox in 1980. Considerable efforts are being developed against poliomyelitis viruses since 1988, but the ultimate goal of eradication is not yet achieved. Paradoxically, while the objective of having eradicated these two viral diseases is approaching, synthetic biology multiplies the prowesses of virus "neosynthesis", imperiling at least virtually the durability of these advances. This article emphasizes the potential of a new biology on one side, and the difficult reality of the fight against infections on the other.


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