Gain of function research
Certain gain-of-function studies with the potential to enhance the pathogenicity or transmissibility of potential pandemic pathogens (PPPs) have raised biosafety and biosecurity concerns, including the potential dual use risks associated with the misuse of the information or products resulting from such research.
On October 16, 2014, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced the launch of the U.S. Government (USG) gain-of-function (GOF) deliberative process to re-evaluate the potential risks and benefits associated with certain GOF experiments. During this process the USG paused the release of federal funding for GOF studies anticipated to enhance the pathogenicity or transmissibility among mammals by respiratory droplets of influenza, MERS, or SARS viruses.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of NIAID (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases), oversees an extensive portfolio of basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose, and treat established infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, respiratory infections, diarrhea diseases, tuberculosis and malaria as well as emerging diseases such as Ebola and Zika.
Liberty NOW has a bias toward natural over synthetic. We are proposing a global ban on gain of function research, which is the development of and experimentation with viruses in order to attempt to figure out how nature will act and react. Scientists should not seek out and capture elusive viruses in the wild that a human would never encounter. As well, scientists should not use those same viruses to “juice up” existing viruses in the laboratory to make them more powerful and/or more dangerous. This is how “gain of function” is derived.
This scientific experimentation will ultimately lead to exposing more and more innocent people to numerous types of dangerous pathogens. This is an issue that involves every nation in the world. Our goal is to create legislation at the state and federal levels to ban gain of function research – which is arguably bioweapons development – and contracting with other nations regarding gain of function research. We plan to create relationships with world leaders to achieve a global ban on gain-of-function research.