Biosecurity laws hobble research

Ever since the U.S. government has taken steps to protect and encourage research involving pathogens that could be used as biological weapons, that research has become much less efficient, according to a new analysis. Image: Wikimedia CommonsThough funding for research on so-called "select agents," or pathogens that can be used as weapons, has shot through the roof, and the number of papers using those organisms has risen in recent years, the work has become up to five times less efficient -- m

Bob Grant
Bob Grant

Bob Grant is Editor in Chief of The Scientist, where he started in 2007 as a Staff Writer.

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May 9, 2010
Ever since the U.S. government has taken steps to protect and encourage research involving pathogens that could be used as biological weapons, that research has become much less efficient, according to a new analysis.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Though funding for research on so-called "select agents," or pathogens that can be used as weapons, has shot through the roof, and the number of papers using those organisms has risen in recent years, the work has become up to five times less efficient -- meaning, the same amount of funding produces fewer papers than it did before. "The price of the research was multiplied by maybe a factor of 5 for anthrax and maybe a factor of 2 for Ebola," said Carnegie Mellon University associate professor linkurl:Elizabeth Casman,;http://www.epp.cmu.edu/people/bios/casman.html who led an linkurl:analysis;http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0915002107 of the select agent literature that is published in this week's issue of the __Proceedings of the National Academy of...




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