An evil genetically modified organism approved

The Herald reports:

A genetically modified organism has been approved for use in a clinical trial in New Zealand – the first GMO approved as a human medicine under a regime established in 1996.

The Greens will be appalled. They are against any use of GMOs in NZ. They even have had activists destroy test crops.  So what is the evil GMO designed to do?

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has approved the release of Pexa-Vec for a clinical trial for the treatment of a type of liver cancer.

Liver cancer is natural.We should not genetically modify organisms to fight it.

Pexa-Vec is a weakened virus that is based on a vaccine used in the eradication of smallpox.

The modified virus is injected into a cancer tumour in order to grow inside the rapidly growing cancer cells and kill them.

It kills cancer cells. Outrageous. Ban it.

SillaJen Biotherapeutics said in its application that Pexa-Vec was a promising therapy against liver cancer, with potential immediate benefits including tumour shrinkage, alleviation of symptoms, cancer remission and prolonged survival.

But it isn’t natural!

The use of GMOs is strongly opposed by some environmental groups and today’s decision will be controversial.

It shouldn’t be. It should be welcomed by everyone who is pro-science.

UPDATE: The James Shaw influence is having some impact. The Greens are just sceptical rather than hostile. NewstalkZB reported:

The Greens are calling for some independent evidence before giving a blessing to a GMO release that’s been approved for a medical clinical trial.

Green MP Steffan Browning said he’s cynical about the assurances the EPA has made about it being low risk, but he wouldn’t like to stand in the way of effective treatment for individuals and this looks like it has the potential for that.

“What I’m looking for is some robust analysis by some genuinely independent and capable scientists who add to the discourse that has been had at the EPA.”

Much more nuanced that in the past, which is good.

But the EPA is the independent body. I don’t see why you need a second independent body when you don’t like the conclusion of the first.

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