Global Threats - Collaborative Solutions
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 | 7:15 a.m. - 8:15 a.m.
016 Biosafety and Biosecurity: Advancing Science and Protecting the Public Health in a New Era
Amy P. Patterson, M.D.
Associate Director for Science Policy, NIH
Amy P. Patterson, M.D., is the Associate Director for Science Policy at the National Institutes of Health, in the Department of Health and Human Services. In this position, she provides national leadership on a range of science policy issues, including the ethical, legal, social, and economic implications of biomedical research, policy development for human subject protections, the privacy and confidentiality of research records, biosafety, biosecurity and dual use research, among others.
Dr. Patterson will explain how our understanding of the technological capacity of molecular mechanisms that contribute to the ability of an infectious disease agent to pose a threat to public health – vital to the development of treatments and cures – also lends us to the responsibilities that come with that technical capability and the knowledge that stems from it. Although generally accepted standards for biosafety have existed for decades, a more recent consideration for the life sciences has been how to address the security risks of these new technologies and information. Dr. Patterson’s address will describe the government’s policy development activities in this regard, with an aim on fostering a dialogue to inform future policy directions. For example, Dr. Patterson will describe the processes and policies that the U.S. government has put into place to provide special, supplementary review to certain types of “gain of function” experiments – in particular those that would aim to augment the transmissibility of H5N1 and H7N9 influenza viruses in mammals. She will also discuss the U.S. government’s policies for addressing “dual use research of concern” (DURC) in the life sciences, touching in particular on the responsibilities of scientists and their institutions in managing DURC. A theme throughout the presentation will be ensuring a robust, productive research enterprise while putting in place effective measures to protect public health and safety.
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