Government Accountability Office Finds HHS Guidances Lacking

The investigation evaluates the CARES Act and the administrative response to COVID-19.

Congressional watchdog agency the Government Accountability Office (GAO) finished its investigation into the administration’s oversight over its management of gain-of-function research. Gain-of-function research is a specific type of research that intentionally alters pathogens in laboratory settings to assess their potential dangers in public health settings.

The GOA opened this probe after a specific provision in the CARES Act tasked the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with using gain-of-function research to help America better respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The HHS’s guidelines for gain-of-function research, drafted in 2017, accepts research proposals that “reasonably anticipated” conducting successful research on potential pandemic pathogens. But the report found that “the phrase ‘reasonably anticipated’ allows for subjective interpretation and covers a range of certainty regarding the intent of the research and the likelihood of the results.”

The GOA’s report pointed out this vague language, along with a lack of transparency about the group that actually reviews these research proposals. The GOA recommends that the HHS rectifies these shortcomings to expand oversight over this important field of research.

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For the GOA as they conduct investigations such as this.
  • That the information revealed in this report facilitates positive change in the HHS.
  • That the president and administration officials remain open for critique as they strive to do right by the American people.

Sources: The Hill


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