Code of ethics for bioterrorism research

Another interesting article in Sciencemag, this time involving an ethics code for researchers involved in bioterrorism research. Parts of the code include that "All persons and institutions engaged in any aspect of the life sciences must":

"Work to ensure that their discoveries and knowledge do no harm
(i) by refusing to engage in any research that is intended to facilitate or that has
a high probability of being used to facilitate bioterrorism or biowarfare; and
(ii) by never knowingly or recklessly contributing to development, production,
or acquisition of microbial or other biological agents or toxins, whatever their
origin or method of production, of types or in quantities that cannot be justified
on the basis that they are necessary for prophylactic, protective, therapeutic,
or other peaceful purposes."

In my view this might be the most controversial part of the code. What exactly is "any" research? If a researcher in Russia is working on an anthrax vaccine knowing that in the past his country violated international treaties barring bioweapons development and also knowing that there is considerable instability that might lead the country back down that road, is it ethical to pursue that research? Clearly protecting his fellow countrymen and women is ethical, but if the vaccine can be used to protect a military that might be tempted to use Anthrax in the future, can he justify pursuing this research given past performance? Note: I intentionally did not state a US example here, but given recent changes of opinion on such issues as torture, this is a relevant question for everyone. Further, the authors (Margaret A. Somerville and Ronald M. Atlas) conclude with:

"A code is a living instrument that will need to be supplemented, on a continuing basis, by interpretations, applications, and analysis of new case examples....Certainly, the code we put forward is not the total solution, but it can contribute, in conjunction with other measures, to the deterrence of bioterrorism and biowarfare. Past experience tells us that violations of a code can result in loss of respect by peers; loss of public trust and thereby public support; loss of research funding; and censures for breaches of ethics and legal penalties, including loss of professional licenses to practice. But more important than the consequences for breaches, a code of ethics can serve as a guide for all persons engaged in science, articulating the values to which we all must aspire and the standards to which we all must adhere to ensure our conduct is ethical and fulfills our fiduciary responsibilities to society."