DEEP VZN is a virology research project funded by USAID with the stated goal of identifying and characterising pandemic capable viruses. In particular, they plan to make the genomes for all viruses they characterise open-source. Rob Reid and Kevin Esvelt argue in a recent podcast that this poses an immense biosecurity threat as there are tens of thousands of individuals/organisations with the means + ability to use these genomes to create and proliferate said viruses, effectively turning them into WMDs.
I mainly wanted to make this post to make the community more aware if it wasn't already - I think if you want a more thorough breakdown of the arguments for and against what DEEP VZN intends to do, Rob+Kevin's conversation is great (and decidedly lands against). If you would like to help, they both recommend reaching out to USAID through one of the following avenues and prompting them to more carefully consider these serious downsides to funding this project:
- Tweeting at them @usaid
- Submitting a message at usaid.gov/contact-us
- Calling them directly at their main line 202-712-4300
 Per the bottom of page 16 / top of page 17 of their NOFO linked above.