The White House recently called for a "robust and broad deliberative process" to assess the risks and benefits of select gain-of-function studies, pausing current experiments and further grants until new federal policy on research funding and oversight is developed. At issue is whether and under what conditions laboratory studies that enhance the transmissibility and/or virulence of potential pandemic pathogens such as the H5N1 avian influenza virus should go forward. To date, professionals from medicine, public health, and the life sciences have dominated the debate, and each side of the controversy has cited the public's well-being as the principal motivator for their position. A major stakeholder, the general public, has not yet actively and systematically weighed in on the matter. This commentary considers in what form and with what benefit public participation may materialize in the current debate regarding the governance of gain-of-function research.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Emergency Medicine
- Safety Research
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis