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NSABB Weighs in on Risky Research

The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB), which advises the federal government on dual-use life science research, has urged the government to quickly clarify the extent of a funding moratorium on risky virus research, and grant some urgent exceptions. The National Institutes of Health define dual use or risky research as “life sciences research that…can be reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, information, products, or technologies that could be directly misapplied to pose significant threat with broad potential consequences” to the general public. According to a report by ScienceInsider, NSABB is preparing a statement on the moratorium, which halts funding for so-called gain-of-function studies that make viruses more pathogenic or more transmissible in mammals. Eighteen research projects involving flu strains and two coronaviruses, MERS and SARS, have been affected.