Nature News Blog
21 Feb 2013
US government officials have passed two more checkpoints on the long,
winding road towards a policy for dealing with risky research. That
journey was forced into overdrive at the end of 2011, when a government
body recommended against publishing two studies showing how a deadly form of avian influenza H5N1 could be made to pass between mammals.
Today, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a final framework
for vetting specific types of experiments before funding them. The US
Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) also published a long-awaited draft policy
for how scientists and institutions should monitor and report on a wide
range of research that malevolent forces could manipulate to do harm.
This type of research, called dual-use research of concern (DURC), is
fundable if the potential benefits are deemed significant and the risks