U.S. Government Gain-of-Function Deliberative Process and Research Funding Pause on Selected Gain-of-Function Research Involving Influenza, MERS, and SARS Viruses - October 17, 2014

White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)
In 2014, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) made the decision to pause funding on certain types of gain-of-function research. Gain-of-function research alters pathogenic organisms to test the ability of pathogens to acquire additional virulence. OSTP decided that the biosafety and biosecurity risks of such experiments were too great and decided to impose a moratorium on new federal funding for such research focused on pathogens with high pandemic potential: influenza, MERS, and SARS viruses. OSTP identified a circumscribed deliberative process for revising recommendations and developing new official government policy on gain-of-function research. Following this process, the US government granted certain exceptions to the funding moratorium, and NIH later lifted the moratorium in 2017.