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9/30/15 - New federal policy in place for dual use research of concern

On Sept. 24, the U.S. Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC) went into effect. The issue of DURC is a shared responsibility between the federal government and institutions receiving funding for life science research.

Mississippi State University, through the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC), has been reviewing research using biohazardous material for dual use potential since 2011. Based on the federal DURC policy, a subset of the IBC called the Institutional Review Entity (IRE), will now officially review this type of research.

While a subset of the IBC will act in the capacity of the IRE, they are both separate and distinct with different charges, responsibilities, policies and procedures.

The 15 agents/toxins that comprise the material with dual use potential are all select agents, and 14 out of 15 require a minimum of biosafety-level 3 containment. The lone toxin, if used below a certain quantity, does not require select agent registration and may be used at biosafety level 2 if the risk assessment determines that it is safe to do so.

In order for research to be considered DURC, two conditions must be met:

* The research involves one of the 15 listed agents/toxin; and,

* Can produce one or more of the effects listed in the seven experimental categories described in the U.S. government policy.

Mississippi State's Institutional Review Entity will review all research identified by the principal investigator as having dual use potential following the procedure outlined in IRE-SOP-001.

Please direct any questions to Patricia Cox at 662-325-0620 or

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