There was a plan released on January 9, by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to assist with determining whether studies that make viruses more dangerous should be funded. They hope that this will help bring through several studies that have been on hold, funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, for a couple of years, due hesitation of the creation of “gain-of-function” viruses, among the notable ones were studies on influenza, Middle East respiratory syndrome virus, and severe acute respiratory syndrome virus.
They released this policy sooner than expected due to the fear of uncertainty surrounding the policy’s future that would come with the leadership of the Donald Trump. The policy is reminiscent on the study of H5N1, which was made more transmissible among mammals. The policy covers “PPPs” or “potential pandemic pathogens,” as well as projects involving enhanced pathogens, where the policy helped define the criteria. However, there has been some controversy surrounding the policy. Stanford faculty David Relman, a microbiologist, stated “the location of its 'home' is very important,” in regards to conflicts of interest.
Gianna Nino-Tapias (’18)
Kaiser, J (2016). White House announces review process for risky virus studies. Science. LINK-->