U.S. releases stricter research rules for dangerous pathogens

The U.S. federal government released two documents on Thursday that detail stricter requirements for government and institution oversight of studies with pathogens that pose potential safety concerns.

The first document, released by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, is a proposed rule that would establish new oversight requirements for federally funded research involving 15 dangerous pathogens, including avian H5N1 influenza. The OSTP is seeking public comment on the proposed rule, BioCentury reports.

The rule would require researchers and institutions to review federally funded research proposals that involve dual use research of concern. The institutions would need to develop a plan to mitigate risks and establish a committee to oversee possibly problematic projects. Public comments are due by April 23.

DURC is defined as life science research conducted for legitimate purposes that could be misapplied for harmful purposes.

The second document was published by the Department of Health and Human Sciences. The document is a framework to guide the funding decisions the agency makes for research proposals that could generate highly pathogenic and transmissible H5N1 viruses. The framework would require the agency to use seven criteria to determine if the research can be funded. The policy would only support research that can be shared publicly, BioCentury reports.