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Center for Health Security Senior Scholar Dr. Gigi Gronvall Testifies at California State Assembly

Center News

Gigi Kwik Gronvall, PhD

July 7, 2021 – Dr. Gigi Gronvall, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, provided expert testimony at a hearing at the California State Assembly on gene synthesis security today.

The hearing was convened by the California Legislature Senate Committee on Health.

Dr. Gronvall’s testimony provided an expert voice in support of the new legislation introduced, in support of legislation introduced, Assembly Bill (AB) 70: Gene synthesis providers.

“Because it costs time and money to perform biosecurity screening, responsible companies that voluntarily take this step have until now been at a competitive business disadvantage. Regulations that standardize such biosecurity screening make it easier for companies to incorporate these methods into their pipeline,” said Dr. Gronvall. “The California legislation seeks to tackle this by requiring that all DNA synthesis companies undertake sequence screening, thus leveling the playing field and ensuring that only high-quality organizations take part in this emerging biotech field. It is my hope that California leads the way for the US federal government and other governments to put regulations in place to ensure that DNA sequences of pathogens do not fall into the wrong hands.”

Read the full testimony. (PDF)