Via CIDRAP, Robert Roos writes: NSABB chief says board's idling due to slow fed policy work. Excerpt:
The head of a federal biosecurity advisory committee says delays in the development of a national policy on institutional oversight of risky life-sciences research are the main reason the committee has been inactive for close to 2 years.
The dormancy of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) was pushed into the spotlight this week with the revelation that the 11 remaining original members of the 23-member board are being replaced. The board was set up in 2005 to advise the government on biosecurity and dual-use research, meaning research that can be exploited for harm as well as good.
The board, which is sponsored and convened by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has not met since November 2012. Some members have been critical of the NIH for not convening the panel more often at a time when controversial "gain-of-function" influenza research is moving forward and, most recently, lab safety lapses have been reported at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (see related story).