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Representatives Foster and Obernolte Urge OSTP Examine Nation’s Lab Biosafety Policies

Jul 26, 2021
Press Release

(Washington, DC) – Last week, Chairman Bill Foster (D-IL) and Ranking Member Jay Obernolte (R-CA) of the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight sent a letter to Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Director Lander requesting a review of the adequacy and implementation of their oversight policies for life sciences dual use research of concern and federally-funded research on potential pandemic pathogens. The OSTP advises the President and others within the Executive Office of the President on pressing issues in science, engineering, and technology.

“The United States government should evaluate whether its policies ensure laboratory safety around research on pathogens with pandemic potential and dual use research of concern” said Committee Members in the letter. “We are now keenly aware of both the utility of certain types of pathogen research in addressing infectious disease and creating vaccines, and of the potentially dire health consequences of a biosafety incident.”

The Members continued, “We ask that OSTP reexamine both the 2012 and 2014 policies on DURC and the 2017 PPP Policy to determine whether such policies are adequate for managing laboratory biosafety and biosecurity related to federally-funded research. We also ask that OSTP evaluate whether the covered agencies are carrying out the requirements contained in these directives in a satisfactory manner.”

A copy of the full letter can be found here.

117th Congress