Environmental, Health and Safety Services

Dual Use Research of Concern

What is Dual-Use Research of Concern (DURC)?

  • If proposed research could potentially provide knowledge, information, products or technologies that, if misapplied, could pose a significant threat with broad consequences to public health and safety, to agricultural crops and other plants, to animals or the environment, or to national security, then it qualifies as DURC.
  • The U.S. government has designated the following agents as potentially involving DURC:
    • Avian influenza virus
    • Bacillus anthracis
    • Botulinum neurotoxin
    • Burkholderia mallei
    • Burkholderia pseudomallei
    • Ebola virus
    • Foot-and-Mouth Disease virus
    • Francisella tularensis
    • Marburg virus
    • Reconstructed 1918 flu virus
    • Rinderpest virus
    • Toxin-producing C. botulinum
    • Variola major virus
    • Variola minor virus
    • Yersinia pestis
  • The U.S. government has designated these experiments as potentially involving DURC:
    • Enhancing the harmful consequences, or altering the host range/ tropism of an agent or toxin
    • Disrupting immunity or effectiveness of immunization against an agent or toxin without justification
    • Conferring resistance to an agent or toxin to interventions, or facilitating its ability to evade detection
    • Increasing stability, transmissability, or ability to disseminate of an agent or toxin
    • Enhancing susceptibility of a host population to an agent or toxin
    • Generating or reconstituting an eradicated or extinct agent or toxin listed above
  • If your research involves the use of one or more of the agents and experiments listed, it may be considered DURC. DURC Researchers must comply with the U.S. Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern. The government’s oversight of DURC aims to preserve the benefits of the life sciences while minimizing the risk of misuse of this research.

What Happens If Your Research Involves DURC

  1. You must submit a research protocol to the Virginia Tech IBC for review.
  2. The AVP for the Office of Research Compliance, the IBC, and the Office of Export and Secure Research Compliance will meet with you to discuss the research.
  3. A mitigation plan will be drafted by you and those listed above, in accordance with the U.S. Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern. The draft plan will be submitted to NIH and/or your funding agency for review and approval.
  4. You will be provided with information and guidance by those listed above throughout the planning and approval process.
  5. Your research cannot be initiated until your research protocol and risk mitigation plan is approved.

Further Information and Guidance:

IBC