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Rubio, Marshall, Colleagues Call on White House to Reinstate Government-wide Moratorium on GoF Research

Nov 28, 2022 | Press Releases

Gain-of-Function (GoF) research lacks oversight and clear guidelines, increasing potential risks of outbreaks from laboratory accidents. 
U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) demanded that the federal government implement a government-wide ban on all ongoing and new viral GoF and Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC) studies in the life sciences involving all enhanced pathogens of pandemic potential (ePPP). 
The GoF/DURC research techniques may have increased the virulence or transmissibility of a coronavirus pathogen during experiments at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, which many believe led to the initial COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. 

  • “These experiments pose extreme threats to public health if the altered pathogens are accidentally or deliberately released… We ask for the moratorium to include studies that enhance the virulence or transmissibility of any pathogen to produce an ePPP and studies that confer efficient human transmissibility on a pathogen of even modest virulence… U.S. laboratories are not exempt from laboratory accidents. Hundreds of laboratory accidents reported to NIH, previously concealed from the public, have been revealed in thousands of documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests… An intrinsic threat that powerful ePPP viruses can escape from high-containment, high-security laboratories and spark an outbreak with much greater lethality than the world just experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic is plausible… Until clear ePPP research policies are implemented, it is critically important for the OSTP to immediately institute increased protections for the public from these potentially lethal pathogens…”

Want more? Read the full letter here