New Government Policies on Pathogen Research Issued, But Will They Be Effective?
the MPR take:
New policy guidelines issued by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy are calling for U.S. universities to carefully monitor their life sciences research on dangerous pathogens and toxins for both benefits and risks. The policy, “United States Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern,” addresses dual use research of concern that could lead to increased knowledge and medical advances, or be misused and pose a significant threat to public safety and health. Such research on pathogens including, but not limited to, avian influenza virus, Ebola virus, reconstructed 1918 Influenza virus, and toxin-producing strains of Clostridium botulinum, must be reported to the federal government or face the loss of federal funding for the researcher or the university. Some researchers state that this policy has already been in practice by federal agencies and research institutions receiving federal funding, and that no new requirements are mandated. Others believe that the policy does not require a true risk-benefit analysis because it does not require quantification of risk-benefits and does not address studies in which bacteria or viruses are altered to make them more contagious or lethal.
The long-awaited guidelines, issued by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, lay out a framework for university safety review boards to identify research that falls into this category, known as "dual use research of concern." Such research must be reported to the federal government, the policy states.
READ FULL ARTICLE From Reuters