News & AnalysisBiosecurity

Panel Selects Most Dangerous Select Agents

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Science  24 Jun 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6037, pp. 1491-1492
DOI: 10.1126/science.332.6037.1491

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After the FBI last year declared that the 2001 anthrax letter attacks had been perpetrated by a U.S. Army researcher, government officials and biomedical scientists stepped up the debate over what can be done to better guard against the nefarious use of dangerous pathogens and toxins, collectively known as select agents. Last week, a federal panel called for tightening security measures on a select group of select agents and loosening research restrictions on others. The proposal has by and large been welcomed by the biomedical community, but some are balking at its recommendations for enhanced screening and monitoring of researchers who work with the most dangerous pathogens.