Virus Field Research
Background: The Departments of Agriculture, State, Interior, Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Agency for International Development conduct or support field-based virus research. This research includes the domestic and international collection, transport, and laboratory characterization of samples from animals and the environment to, among other things, improve the ability to predict which viruses or virus characteristics might cause a pandemic. However, some researchers have questioned whether collecting and characterizing viruses found in animals can accurately predict those that may infect humans or cause a pandemic. Others have suggested this research risks unintentional infection of field or laboratory researchers that could result in an outbreak. Key Questions: (Q1) What is known about whether field-based collection of virus samples from wildlife and the environment improves our ability to predict, prevent, or control pandemics? (Q2) What risks are associated with field-based virus collection, transport, and laboratory characterization to identify viruses with pandemic potential? (Q3) What technologies or approaches, other than field-based researchers' collection of virus samples, may help predict future outbreaks and pandemics?
Short title:
Virus Field Research
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Project leader:
Science, Technology Assessment, and Analytics team of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) (STAA)
United States of America