Center for Health Security faculty respond to White House Office of Science and Technology Policy RFI on Dual Use Research of Concern and Potential Pandemic Pathogen Care and Oversight Policy Framework
October 16, 2023 – A group of public health and security experts, including Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (CHS) faculty members, responded to a Request for Information (RFI) today from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) regarding potential changes to the Policies for Federal and Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC) and Potential Pandemic Pathogen Care and Oversight (P3CO) Policy Framework. The RFI response follows the release of findings and proposed recommendations by the National Science Advisory Board on Biosecurity (NSABB) earlier this year. The NSABB report included recommendations for governance of research involving enhanced pathogens of pandemic potential (ePPP), an extremely small subset of gain-of-function research that has significant enough risks to warrant oversight.
The group’s RFI response supports the NSABB recommendations and emphasizes the importance of protecting humans, animals, plants, and the environment from especially dangerous DURC and ePPP research. “Research activities must be seen in the broader and more significant context of the United States Government’s responsibility to reduce risks of accidental or deliberate pandemics to which a narrow and limited segment of research—ePPP research—may contribute if un- or underregulated,” write the authors.
The response was written by Tom Inglesby, MD, Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security; Anita Cicero, JD, Deputy Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security; and Melissa Hopkins, JD, Health Security Policy Advisor, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security; Marc Lipsitch, DPhil, Professor and Director, Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Professor; and David Relman, MD, Thomas C. and Joan M. Merigan Professor in Medicine, Professor of Microbiology & Immunology, and Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University.
Also joining the response in their individual capacities are (in alphabetical order): John Barugahare, MPhil, Makerere University; Roger Brent, PhD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center; Donald S. Burke, MD, University of Pittsburgh; Carlos del Rio, MD, Emory University School of Medicine; James Diggans, PhD, Twist Bioscience; Nir Eyal, DPhil, Rutgers University; Claire M. Fraser, PhD, University of Maryland; Laura Hammitt, MD, Johns Hopkins University; Lynn C. Klotz, PhD, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation; Gregory Koblentz, PhD, MPP, George Mason University; James W. Le Duc, PhD, MSPH, University of Texas Medical Branch; Emily Leproust, PhD, MS, Twist Bioscience; Stephen Luby, MD, Stanford University; J. Stephen Morisson, PhD, Center for Strategic and International Studies; Jaspreet Pannu, MD, Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University; Gerald W. Parker, DVM, PhD, Texas A&M University; George Poste, DVM, PhD, Arizona State University; Steven Salzberg, PhD, MPhil, MS, Johns Hopkins University; Mathuram Santosham, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University; Lone Simonsen, PhD, Roskilde University; Honorable Andrew C. Weber, MSFS, US DoD; Robin Weiss, PhD, MPH, University College London.
The OSTP RFI response follows similar work by CHS faculty over the past 2 years, including response to the NSABB findings and recommendation document; publication of a policy forum in Science; response to preliminary draft recommendations from the NSABB; and submission of recommendations intended to strengthen oversight to the White House National Security Council and OSTP, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the NSABB.
Read the full RFI response. Please note that this version includes the RFI questions for readability. The submitted RFI response did not include the questions in order to meet submission requirements.