Dual Use Research of Concern

Dual use research of concern (DURC)

Advances in life science research can provide information that will benefit humankind. However, some advances also have the potential to be misused for harm.

Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC) is defined as:

Research that, based on current understanding, can be reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, products or technologies that could be directly misapplied by others to pose a threat to public health and safety, agricultural crops and other plants, animals, the environment or materiel.

The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Office of Science Policy (OSP) has provided a short video on DURC to raise awareness of the potential for DURC in research.

The United States Government has issued two policies for oversight of DURC:

The policies govern research involving nonattenuated forms of one or more of the following agents:

  • avian influenza virus (highly pathogenic)
  • Marburg virus
  • Bacillus anthracis
  • reconstructed 1918 influenza virus
  • botulinum neurotoxin (in any quantity)
  • rinderpest virus
  • Burkholderia mallei
  • toxin-producing strains of Clostridium botulinum
  • Burkholderia pseudomallei
  • variola major virus
  • Ebola virus
  • variola minor virus
  • foot-and-mouth disease virus
  • Yersinia pestis
  • Francisella tularensis

 

 

The research must also aim to produce, or be reasonably anticipated to produce, one or more of the effects below:

  • enhances the harmful consequences of the agent or toxin
  • disrupts immunity or the effectiveness of an immunization against the agent or toxin without clinical and/or agricultural justification
  • confers to the agent or toxin resistance to clinically and/or agriculturally useful prophylactic or therapeutic interventions against that agent or toxin or facilitates their ability to evade detection methodologies
  • increases the stability, transmissibility or the ability to disseminate the agent or toxin
  • alters the host range or tropism of the agent or toxin
  • enhances the susceptibility of a host population to the agent or toxin
  • generates or reconstitutes an eradicated or extinct listed agent or toxin

Investigators are responsible for being aware of the potential for misuse of their research and to mitigate the risk of misuse whenever possible. The Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) reviews for DURC in consultation with experts in the agent being used. For more information on DURC, contact us.

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