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Center Faculty Contribute to Commentary Published in Science About Strengthening Oversight of Research Involving Enhanced Potential Pandemic Pathogens

Center News


December 8, 2022 – A group of senior scientists, public health experts, and policy researchers—including three Center faculty—has published a new commentary in Science. The policy forum discusses opportunities to strengthen the oversight of research involving enhanced potential pandemic pathogens (ePPP) and life sciences dual-use research of concern (DURC). The US government (USG) is currently reviewing its policies that provide governance and guidance for this realm of research.

“It is vital to get these policies right, not only for the US, but to inspire policy development in other countries with growing life science and biotechnology sectors,” write the authors. “Few countries have policies that fully manage these issues.”

The group recommends resetting US policy by including the following revisions:

  • Expand the scope of pathogens to be governed
  • Examine risks and benefits in rigorous detail
  • Incorporate transparency into the review process
  • Reset the review process
  • Expand reach to all USG agencies and to any institution performing this work

The commentary was written by Jaspreet Pannu, MD, fellow, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (CHS); Megan J. Palmer, PhD (Stanford University); Anita Cicero, JD, deputy director, CHS; David A. Relman, MD (Stanford University); Marc Lipsitch, DPhil (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health), and Tom Inglesby, MD, director, CHS. It follows previous work by Center faculty and colleagues related to ePPP and DURC oversight that was conducted over the summer, including submitting a letter responding to preliminary draft recommendations from the National Science Advisory Board on Biosecurity (NSABB) and submitting recommendations intended to strengthen oversight to the White House National Security Council and Office of Science and Technology Policy, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the NSABB.

Read the commentary.