"Should we even consider this?" WHO starts work on gene editing ethics

Tedros said the World Health Organization (WHO) was in the process of setting up the panel. He did not however characterise the initiative as a direct response to the Chinese trial.

He also declined to speculate on whether WHO could envision a future where some form of gene editing could offer public health benefits. The panel will start with “a clean sheet,” Tedros said. “They can start by asking ‘should we even consider this?’”

The group will include academics as well as WHO and government medical experts, he added. “We have to be very, very careful … We should not go into gene editing without understanding the unintended consequences.”