Gregory Koblentz, a member of the Center’s Scientists Working Group, co-authored an article for the New York Times about the need for greater government oversight on pathogen research in lab environments.
“The original source of the coronavirus pandemic remains unconfirmed. While it was likely the result of a spillover from animals to humans, a lab origin cannot be ruled out. Given the uncertainty, additional scrutiny on research with pathogens that are engineered to be more transmissible or dangerous is warranted to prevent any future devastating pandemics.
In response to that risk, the United States recently took an important step toward strengthening the government’s oversight of research with viruses and other pathogens. An expert panel known as the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity voted unanimously in January to recommend a major overhaul of how the United States supervises what’s called dual-use research. Research is considered dual use if the intended use of the work is for peaceful purposes but there is concern it could result in a more dangerous pathogen or information that could be used maliciously.” Read more