As Congress proceeds with conference negotiations to reconcile the America COMPETES Act (H.R. 4521) and the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (S. 1260), a group of scientific and academic organizations, including AIBS, have written to lawmakers urging removal of legislative provisions that would restrict, pause, or alter federally funded research projects that focus on gain of function research of concern or specific pathogens.
In their letter, the groups note that such provisions are overly prescriptive and interfere with the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity’s (NSABB) evaluation of and forthcoming recommendations on enhanced potential pandemic pathogen research and dual use research of concern.
“Through collaboration with NSABB, Congress can strike an appropriate balance between safeguarding national security and public health through biosafety and biosecurity measures, while also recognizing the global impact of potential pandemic pathogens, the value and lifesaving potential of research in this area, and the need to study these microbes to address current and future threats,” the letter argues. “Doing otherwise could have serious, negative unintended consequences for potentially lifesaving research.”
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