U.S. Agencies to Start Screening Biomedical Proposals for Dual Use

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Science  06 Apr 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6077, pp. 21
DOI: 10.1126/science.336.6077.21

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It took nearly a decade of debate—and a jolt from the high-profile controversy surrounding two influenza studies—but the United States now has a formal policy for overseeing taxpayer-funded biomedical research that could be used for good or evil. A government-wide committee last week quietly released new rules that require federal agencies to systematically screen funding proposals for "dual use research of concern." The policy, which applies only to studies involving 15 "high consequence" pathogens and toxins, is drawing generally positive reviews from researchers and security experts. But some university groups worry that it could unnecessarily hinder academic research or end up expanding secret research.