Dual-Use Research in the Life Sciences: Sept. 14 Report Release and Webinar  

Concerns have long been raised that advances in life sciences research could be misused to pose threats to national security. Controversies have arisen over whether certain research should be published – for example, two 2011 scientific papers that identified genetic mutations that increase the transmissibility of H5N1 avian influenza because of the possibility that it could be misused to cause harm.

Dual-Use Research of Concern in the Life Sciences: Current Issues and Controversies, a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, examines the policies and practices that currently govern dual-use research in the life sciences. The report also identifies elements that are important in effectively managing such research.

The report will be released with a public webinar on Sept. 14, led by the co-chairs of the committee that wrote the report:
-- Richard Meserve, Senior Of Counsel, Covington & Burling LLP, Washington, D.C.
-- Harold Varmus, Lewis Thomas University Professor, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York City

The webinar will start at 11 a.m. EDT on Thursday, Sept. 14; please register for the webinar here. Advance copies of the report will be available to reporters only starting at noon on Wednesday, Sept. 13. The report is embargoed and not for public release before 11 a.m. EDT on Thursday, Sept. 14. To obtain copies, reporters should contact the Office of News and Public Information; tel. 202-334-2138 or e-mail news@nas.edu.