Marshall, Colleagues Call on Biden White House to Reinstate Government-Wide Moratorium on GoF Research

Government and Politics

November 23, 2022

Marshall, Colleagues Call on Biden White House to Reinstate Government-Wide Moratorium on GoF Research

In a letter to the White House today, U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. and four of his Senate Republican colleagues demanded that the federal government implement a government-wide ban on all ongoing and new viral Gain-of-Function (GoF) and Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC) studies in the life sciences involving all enhanced pathogens of pandemic potential (ePPP) due to the current lack of research oversight, clear guidelines, and potential risks of outbreaks from laboratory accidents.

The letter, addressed to White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Director Dr. Arati Prabhakar, details concerns about the ambiguity of the existing guidelines for this dangerous research.  The letter also outlines recent examples of GoF and DURC projects in the United States that were sponsored by NIH and could start another pandemic if a laboratory accident occurs.  A prior government-wide OSTP ban on GoF and DURC involving certain ePPP’s was implemented during the Obama Administration from 2014 through 2017.

“For too long, a select group of individuals within American public health institutions and the scientific community have manipulated the research rules to pursue dangerous studies. These individuals operate without consequence for their actions that jeopardize public health in the United States and around the world,” said Senator Marshall. “That is why we are calling on the Biden White House to join our efforts in Congress to prevent the next pandemic by pausing viral Gain-of-Function research and Dual Use Research of Concern studies. Until better guidelines are in place and the federal oversight process is reformed, our government should not allow any of these risky research projects to move forward.”

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 possibly contributed to the initial COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. The Senators wrote, in part,

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