at the top. There was no clear consensus about proposed measures; none of the proposed measures was able to attract the support of a majority of respondents, although increasing restrictions on access to pathogens received almost 50 percent support. Some illustrative comments from respondents are provided in Box 3-11.
Respondents might have different views regarding whether certain policies should be required based upon where they were employed or what type(s) of research they were performing. Two methods for disaggregating respondents were used: first, the type of research they engaged in; and second, where they were employed. The results are summarized in Table 3-14; complete data can be found in Appendix Table D-4.
As the table shows, respondents who conduct one of the three types of research appeared slightly more likely to disagree that many of the
Illustrative Respondent Comments on Policy Measures
“The federal government should monitor the potential threat of dual purpose results but should not interfere with the scientific process of publication and research.”
“It’s hard enough to do research, and additional controls based on dual use fear-mongering will make it even harder.”
“We should remember that several outbreaks of SARS and foot-and-mouth disease are from labs working on these agents. It will not be surprising at all that acts of bioterrorism may eventually be committed by members of research labs where these agents are being studied. The likelihood of state-sponsored bioterrorism, in my opinion, is low. In this sense, persons who conduct research of dual use biotechnology should be subjected to security clearance to safe-guard the appropriate use of the technology.”
“Bioterrorism is a real and horrible threat to all of us. We all want to be safe. The challenge for all of us is to implement measures that will be meaningful and effective—not “feel good” approaches that will inhibit research without making a positive impact on safety.”
“The risks are real but I worry that the “solution” could be worse.”
“If I had one sentence, it would include a caution that how we anticipate and prevent such a threat from occurring is being driven by reasoning rather than by fear.”