NATIONAL SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD FOR BIOSECURITY DISCUSSES PROPOSED POLICY FOR AVAIAN INFLUENZA AND OTHER SELECT AGENTS Created by on 12/18/2012 12:00:00 AM
The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) met on November 27, 2012 and heard from the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and the NSABB working group on Global Engagement. Presentations focused on current and proposed policies and regulations, which are primarily focused on highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 (also referred to as “bird flu”) and, to a lesser extent, other select agents. In the OSTP presentation, the enactment of the March 29, 2012 policy for the oversight of life sciences dual use research of concern (DURC) was described. The speaker indicated that the aim of the current policy is to survey DURC and mitigate risk, and it is expected that this policy will be expanded in the future to include more pathogens and toxins. Currently, the burden of carrying out this policy rests mainly with the federal government, but new institutional guidance documents are expected to be released soon. DHHS is also formulating a new policy to guide funding decisions for gain-of-function HPAI H5N1 research, which was presented for the first time at this meeting. The Department is holding an international consultation workshop to inform the policy making process in addition to seeking public comment and input from NSABB. Finally, the draft report regarding HPAI H5N1 research by the NSABB working group on Global Engagement was approved with minor revisions. The report describes how NSABB dealt with decisions surrounding the publication of mammalian-transmissible H5N1 research and lessons learned by the committee.