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News from the National Academies

Oct. 17, 2014

Workshop on “Gain of Function” Research Announced


For some weeks, the National Research Council (NRC) and Institute of Medicine (IOM) have been working with the National Institutes of Health and others in the U.S. government research community to organize a public workshop on the potential risks and benefits of “gain-of-function” research with, for example, SARS, MERS, or pandemic influenza. The goal is to help inform the deliberations of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) as well as the design of risk and benefit assessments to be commissioned by the U.S. government. Our workshop will take place at the National Academy of Sciences building Dec. 15 and 16.

 

This workshop will focus on the potential risks associated with the research, in particular those related to biosafety and biosecurity, as well as such possible benefits as improved surveillance methods and accelerated vaccine and antiviral therapeutic development. The NRC and IOM have begun selecting an expert committee to oversee this event, which will be held in public, webcast, and archived for the widest possible distribution. While the federal government will be one of the project sponsors, we expect other interested parties to join in supporting the event.  The NRC and IOM are part of the National Academy of Sciences, an independent, private, non-profit organization that is not part of the federal government. This workshop will be planned and conducted by an independent panel of scientific experts who are appointed by the NRC and the IOM. These experts serve without compensation as volunteers in the public interest.

 

DETAILS:

A full agenda is available at http://dels.nas.edu/Upcoming-Event/Risks-Benefits-Gain/AUTO-9-61-70-Q?bname=bls.  Advance registration is required.  Members of the media who wish to attend should register with the Office of News and Public Information; tel. 202-334-2138 or e-mail news@nas.edu.