Transport of Research Material Containing Infectious Agents or Other Biological Hazards

We’ve received some questions about shipment and receipt of biological samples, particularly in the context of the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa; for example, whether grantees can accept biological materials from Africa, and whether NIH has in place any requirements for transporting such research materials. In light of these incoming questions, I think this is a good time to remind you that a number of regulations are in place to ensure …. Continue reading

A Pause in Funding Certain Types of Gain-of-Function Research

The White House announced today that U.S. government agencies will institute a pause in the funding of new “gain-of-function” research on influenza, SARS, and MERS viruses that could increase the pathogenicity or transmissibility to mammals …. During this funding pause, the government will carry out a deliberative process to assess the risks and benefits of such studies and will develop a new Federal policy regarding the funding of this research. …. Continue reading

Promoting Health, Science, and Public Trust through Laboratory Safety

As you may know from recent news reports, there have been lapses in safety practices at federal laboratories involving potentially lethal microbes such as avian flu (H5N1) and anthrax, including an incident involving discovery of 60-year old smallpox vials in an FDA laboratory building located on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus in Bethesda, MD. Such lapses, which undermine public confidence in biomedical research and could put people’s health at risk, remind us of the need for constant attention to biosafety standards. …. Today, NIH issued a Guide Notice, to reinforce the message that our grantees must meet all applicable federal, state, and local health and safety standards for research conduct. Just as with federal labs, grantee institutions are…. Continue reading