Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC)

The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) has defined dual use research of concern (DURC) as “life sciences research that, based on current understanding, can be reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, products, or technologies that could be directly misapplied by others to pose a threat to public health and safety, agricultural crops and other plants, animals, the environment, or material.” Research conducted at AU must be evaluated for DURC potential if it uses one or more of fifteen (15) specific biological agents or toxins currently listed in the US Government DURC Policy and which produces, aims to produce, or can be reasonably anticipated to produce, one or more of the 7 experimental effects of concern listed in the Policy (see below).  The Auburn University Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) serves as the Internal Reviewing Entity (IRE) for any proposed life sciences research with DURC potential.

  • Avian influenza virus (highly pathogenic)
  • Bacillus anthracis
  • Botulinum neurotoxin (no exempt quantities)
  • Burkholderia mallei
  • Burkholderia pseudomallei
  • Ebola virus
  • Marburg virus
  • Reconstructed 1918 Influenza virus
  • Rinderpest virus
  • Toxin-producing strains of Clostridium botulinum
  • Foot-and-mouth disease virus
  • Francisella tularensis
  • Variola major virus
  • Variola minor virus
  • Yersinia pestis
  1. Enhances the harmful consequences of the agent or toxin.
  2. Disrupts the immunity or the effectiveness of an immunization against the agent or toxin without clinical and/or agricultural justification.
  3. Confers to the agent or toxin resistance to clinically and/or agriculturally useful prophylactic or therapeutic interventions against that agent or toxin or facilitates their ability to evade detection methodologies.
  4. Increases the stability, transmissibility, or the ability to disseminate the agent or toxin.
  5. Alters the host range or tropism of the agent or toxin.
  6. Enhances the susceptibility of a host population to the agent or toxin.
  7. Generates or reconstitutes an eradicated or extinct agent or toxin listed above.

The Principal Investigator (PI) submits a completed Biological Use Authorization (BUA) to the IBC for review of teaching, research, and related activities involving biohazardous materials.  If the proposed research involves one or more of the 15 agents or toxins, the IRE will ask the PI to provide an assessment regarding whether the proposed research is anticipated to achieve any of the categories of experiments and/or their effects. The IRE will review and verify the PI’s assessment.  If the research does not involve one or more of the seven categories of experiments, it will not be subject to additional review or oversight.  If the IRE verifies that the research does involve one of the seven categories of experiments and/or effects, the IRE will conduct a risk assessment to determine whether the research is DURC, and if so, will develop a risk mitigation plan.  The plan must be approved by the USG funding agency before research can commence.  The risk mitigation plan will be reviewed annually by the IRE and modified as needed to ensure that the Plan still adequately mitigates the risks associated with the DURC.

David Acker

Institutional Contact for Dual Use Research of Concern



Or email the Auburn University Biosafety Office: biosafe@auburn.edu