ASM Discourages Congress's Research-Stifling COVID Investigation
Citing extensive oversight, the American Society for Microbiology discouraged the Energy and Commerce Committee leaders – Representatives Rodgers, Guthrie and Griffith – from investigative efforts into research related to COVID-19 and other coronaviruses at CDC, NIH and FDA that would stymie progress in these critical areas. Rather than focusing on strengthening existing policies at these federal agencies, the proposed investigations would concentrate on individual research grants, grantees and institutions, including funding sources. This would have a chilling effect on viral research that seeks to better understand the current pandemic and inform our response to future ones.
This type of individual-based investigation could have harmful effects on peer-reviewed research, and on the scientific community at large. It is essential that oversight and regulation of research is rooted in science and doesn’t unintentionally interfere with scientific progress; such a result would have implications that extend far beyond the current pandemic.
ASM's letter to the E&C committee ranking members urges them to instead focus on supporting and improving the existing processes these agencies have in place for evaluating the safety and efficacy of proposed research projects.