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MITRE’s Response to the OSTP RFI on Potential Changes to the Policies for Oversight of DURC and P3CO

MITRE’s data-driven responses to a White House inquiry requesting input on Potential Changes to the Policies for Oversight of Dual Use Research and Concern and Potential Pandemic Pathogen Care

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WHAT'S THE ISSUE? The United States has existing, complementary statutes, regulations, policies, and guidelines that address potential biosafety and biosecurity risks, particularly those associated with research oversight and management. It is important to regularly evaluate and update biosafety and biosecurity oversight policies, to keep pace with new technological developments and the evolving-risk landscape.

WHAT DID WE DO? The Center for Data-Driven Policy led a cross-MITRE analysis of OSTP’s posed questions, seeking to uncover data and evidence (from our work in the public interest) that would help the White House understand opportunities and develop plans that are evidence-based, actionable, and effective.

WHAT DID WE FIND? MITRE is supportive of attempts to harmonize existing Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC) and Enhanced Potential Pandemic Pathogen (ePPP) oversight into a unified policy. Biological research involving pathogens can be risky but also highly beneficial, so alternative, safer methods for answering research questions should be considered and risk- mitigation measures should be implemented where appropriate.

It is crucial to strike a balance between ensuring responsible and safe conduct in life science research and fostering innovation that allows the U.S. to remain competitive in the international research, development, and bioindustrial base landscape. As we harmonize these policies, we must develop an adaptable approach that supports scientific advancement, encourages international collaboration, and promotes the responsible sharing of knowledge and technology, without introducing strategic vulnerability. By doing so, we can reinforce our nation’s position as a global leader in life sciences research, without compromising safety, security, and public trust.