The report, entitled "Seeking security: pathogens, open access, and genome databases," was released on Sept. 9. "The panel concluded, rightly, that current policies should remain unchanged," the Lancet editors write.
At the moment, researchers can freely access, over the Internet, gene sequences from more than 130,000 species, including the complete genome sequences of more than 1,000 viruses and bacteria as well as numerous plants, fungi, and animals.
The current open-access policies not only have practical advantages, the editors write. "They present the world with a model of international cooperation, trust, and altruism that offers a compelling alternative to the worldview of those who would use bioweapons to impose their political and ideological views."