The Obama Administration will temporarily stop funding research that could make certain pathogens more dangerous while assessments are conducted about the potential risks and benefits of such ‘gain-of-function’ studies.
Gain-of-function research increases the pathogenicity or transmissibility of pathogens. The funding pause will apply to influenza, MERS, and SARS.
The government is encouraging scientists who are already conducting this type of research to voluntarily pause their work while the federal assessment occurs. The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity and the National Research Council will consider the current practices regarding gain-of-function research.
Funding for this type of research will likely resume in 2015, according to the Office of Science and Technology Policy, once a federal policy is adopted.
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