Lipsitch and Inglesby recently estimated the potential public health risks associated with research on influenza virus transmission via respiratory droplets or aerosols between ferrets, leading them to conclude that such research is too risky to be conducted.
The authors of that and other publications estimated the probability of laboratory-acquired infections (LAIs) and onward transmission of the viruses under investigation, as well as the potential consequence to public health if such events were to occur.
Given the weight assigned to these risk estimates, it is important that potential pitfalls in the underlying assumptions in these analyses be rigorously scrutinized. [...]