"Biosecurity Challenges in the Post 9-11 World"

by Elisa D. Harris, Michael Imperiale, Ottorino Cosivi, Ronald Atlas, John Steinbruner

Presentation in the Panel "Biosecurity Challenges in the Post 9-11 World" at American Association for the Advancement of Science, Annual Meeting, St. Louis dated 02/18/2006

Fear of bioterrorism is a top concern of U.S. security policy, but a source of danger involving modern biology has been largely overlooked: the possibility that legitimate biotechnology research in academic, government, or industry laboratories could be misused either deliberately or inadvertently to make current pathogens more lethal or to create new pathogens that are more dangerous. Research with potentially destructive applications is being carried out in laboratories worldwide. Recent examples of such dual-use research include the mousepox experiment in Australia and the poliovirus experiment in the United States. A diverse panel of scientists and policy experts explores both the nature of the dual-use problem and potential measures to mitigate the threat. Questions addressed include: Is it possible to define potentially dangerous research? What role should the scientific community, national governments, and international bodies play? What types of policy tools are available, and how effective are they likely to be? How can we reduce the risks from dual-use research without impinging upon scientific progress?

Elisa D. Harris : Moderator
Michael Imperiale : The Role of the NSABB
Ottorino Cosivi : Implications of Life Sciences R&D for Global Health Security
Ronald Atlas : Globalizing Biosecurity
John Steinbruner: The Argument for Oversight