Senator Blackburn Joins Colleagues in Calling on the White House to Reinstate Government-Wide Moratorium On Gain Of Function Research

Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has joined four Republican colleagues in sending a letter to the White House demanding that the federal government reinstate a government-wide moratorium on gain-of-function (GOF) research.

The group of lawmakers is calling on the National Institute of Health’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), which is part of the Executive Office of the President, to “implement a government-wide ban on all ongoing and new viral Gain-of-Function (GoF) and Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC) studies in the life sciences involving all enhanced pathogens of pandemic potential (ePPP),” according to a press release by Blackburn’s office.

In GOF research, an organism is genetically altered in a way that may enhance its biological functions. From 2014 to 2017, the Obama administration implemented a government-wide ban on certain ePPP’s in GOF and DURC.

Blackburn and her colleagues wrote to OSTP Director Dr. Arati Prabhakar, expressing their concerns about the ambiguity of current guidelines for what they call “risky research.” Also cited in the letter were recent examples of GOF and DURC projects sponsored by the National Institutes of Health that could contribute to another pandemic if a laboratory accident occurs, the lawmakers believe.

The group of lawmakers additionally stated that the GOF/DURC research techniques “may have increased the virulence or transmissibility of a coronavirus pathogen during experiments at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, which possibly contributed to the initial COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.”

“The American public is still awaiting the truth behind COVID-19’s origins and gain of function research,” Senator Blackburn said in a statement. “We need answers from administrators and researchers who reportedly failed to properly oversee these dangerous projects. Until oversight is improved and safety guardrails become a guarantee, the White House must halt Gain of Function research and Dual Use Research of Concern.”

Senators Roger Marshall (R-KS), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) joined Blackburn in sending the letter.

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “Marsha Blackburn” by Sen. Marsha Blackburn. Background Photo “White House” by Ken Lund. CC BY-SA 2.0.


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4 Thoughts to “Senator Blackburn Joins Colleagues in Calling on the White House to Reinstate Government-Wide Moratorium On Gain Of Function Research”

  1. Bob T

    Gain of function research should be banned in all countries, as chemical weapons were. Millions of people are dead and many millions more have had adverse effects in the form of Failing health, lost businesses, lost jobs, financial problems that are a direct result of the foolish games Fauci and his friends played.

    Ban the research NOW!

  2. LM

    They’ll just go back to Wuhan, or some third world lab. Besides , a university on the east coast has already created a particularly nasty strain of COVID using gain of function. They used pieces of the most potent virus as it existed when it first emerged, and combined those with pieces from the most contagious form of Omicron. So, Ms. Blackburn, I think it will take more than a demand letter to stop them.

  3. Big Crow

    Hey, how about a vote or a bill, never mind nasty letters.