Individual panel members pointed to the expertise of individual scientists working outside of government and expressed hope that these scientists will take up the task. They also suggested that effective practices across institutions should be assimilated into a “toolkit” created for the purpose of assisting all institutions with this regulatory task.
Should current policy discussions be organized around the life sciences overall, or are the regulatory questions best applied on a case-by-case basis? Dr. Baltimore expressed the opinion that in many cases, for example, in the case of H5N1 research, policy decisions must be based on an assessment of the specific hazards associated with a specific pathogen and that it would be difficult to arrive at general guiding principles.
To what degree should those in other disciplines be paying attention to these deliberations? How cross-disciplinary are these issues? Many panelists suggested that people in numerous related fields pay close attention to the H5N1 controversy and associated discussions, because similar dual-use questions are pertinent to synthetic biology, systems biology, biological engineering, chemistry, physics, and many types of engineering.