In 2014, the Obama Administration halted funding for certain gain-of-function experiments involving the influenza, SARS, and MERS viruses. This move came after two research teams in 2011 reported on studies they performed that made the flu virus easier to transmit through the air, raising concerns about the work falling into the wrong hands and after a series of worrisome pathogen-handling incidents by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health in 2014. This also led to the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity developing a new policy in 2016 to guide the oversight of gain-of-function studies and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy followed in 2017 with its own guidelines, which led to some studies resuming later in the year.
Now, ScienceInsider reports studies like those by Erasmus University Medical Center's Ron Fouchier and Yoshihiro Kawaoka from the University of Wisconsin and the University of Tokyo that prompted the pause may soon resume. It adds that both researchers have gotten the OK from a Department of Health and Human Services panel to receive funding for studies similar to the ones they were doing earlier.