Magazine article Issues in Science and Technology

Agency Updates

Magazine article Issues in Science and Technology

Agency Updates

Article excerpt

The Office of Science and Technology Policy released its policy for institutional oversight of life sciences dual-use research of concern (DURC). The policy details the necessary oversight to identify DURC and implement risk-mitigation measures. The policy covers specific types of experiments, such as enhancing the harmful consequences of an agent or toxin for 15 pathogens and toxins, including avian influenza virus. Accompanying the new policy are two complementary documents: A Companion Guide of Tools for the Identification, Assessment, Management, and Responsible Communication of Dual Use Research of Concern and Implementation of the U.S. Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences DURC: Case Studies.

The White House released a National Strategy on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria that outlines five goals for combating the spread of resistant bacteria. The goals of the strategy are to: slow the emergence and prevention of their spread; strengthen efforts to identify cases of antibiotic resistance; advance the development and use of rapid diagnostic tests; accelerate basic and applied research of new antibiotics, therapeutics, and vaccines; and improve international collaboration. President Obama signed an Executive Order directing the enactment of the strategy as well as creating a new Task Force for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria to be co-chaired by the secretaries of Defense, Agriculture, and Health and Human Services. As part of the overall strategy, the administration is directing the National Institutes of Health and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to co-sponsor a $20-million prize for the development of a rapid point-of-care diagnostic test to assist health-care workers. Timed to coincide with the release of the White House strategy, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) issued its report on Combating Antibiotic Resistance. …

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