Genetically modified virus
Genetic modification involves the insertion or deletion of genes. When genes are inserted, they usually come from different species, which is a form of horizontal gene transfer. In nature this can occur when exogenous DNA penetrates the cell membrane for any reason but usually for domination of other diseases.
To do this artificially may require attaching the genes to a virus or just physically inserting the extra DNA into the nucleus of the intended host with a very small syringe, or with very small particles fired from a gene gun. However, other methods exploit natural forms of gene transfer, such as the ability of Agrobacterium to transfer genetic material to plants, or the ability of lentiviruses to transfer genes to animal cells.
Gene therapy uses genetically modified viruses to deliver genes that can cure disease into human cells. Although gene therapy is still relatively new, it has had some successes. It has been used to treat genetic disorders such as severe combined immunodeficiency.
In 2012, US researchers reported that they injected a genetically modified virus into the heart of guinea pigs. This virus inserted into the heart muscles a gene called Tbx18 which enabled heartbeats. The researchers forecast that one day this technique could be used to restore the heartbeat in humans who would otherwise need electronic pacemakers.
In 2004, researchers reported that a genetically modified virus that exploits the selfish behaviour of cancer cells might offer an alternative way of killing tumours. Since then, several researchers have developed genetically modified oncolytic viruses that show promise as treatments for various types of cancer  
In Spain and Portugal, by 2005 rabbits had declined by as much as 95% over 50 years due diseases such as myxomatosis, rabbit haemorrhagic disease and other causes. This in turn caused declines in predators like the Iberian lynx, a critically endangered species. In 2000 Spanish researchers investigated a genetically modified virus which might have protected rabbits in the wild against myxomatosis and rabbit haemorrhagic disease. However, there was concern that such a virus might make its way into wild populations in areas such as Australia and create a population boom. Rabbits in Australia are considered to be such a pest that land owners are legally obliged to control them.
A scientist claims she was infected by a genetically modified virus while working for Pfizer. In her federal lawsuit she says she has been intermittently paralyzed by the Pfizer-designed virus. "McClain, of Deep River, suspects she was inadvertently exposed, through work by a former Pfizer colleague in 2002 or 2003, to an engineered form of the lentivirus, a virus similar to the one that can lead to acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS." The court found that McClain failed to demonstrate that her illness was caused by exposure to the lentivirus, but also that Pfizer violated whistleblower laws.
Biohazard research limitations
The National Institute of Health declared a research funding moratorium on select Gain-of-Function virus research in January 2015. Questions about a potential escape of a modified virus from a biosafety lab and the utility of dual-use-technology, dual use research of concern (DURC), prompted the NIH funding policy revision.
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