Skip to main content

Über dieses Buch

This book describes an adaptable biothreat assessment process to complement overall biorisk management programs, incorporating threat management and the unique natures of biological assets. Further, this book examines the nexus between public health, international security, and developing technologies, building a case for augmenting biosecurity to levels beyond the laboratory constraints. With the face of biological and biomedical sciences changing, this book describes how with proper biosecurity development, these can become assets, rather than liabilities, to secure our world from natural and man-made biological disasters. The world is changing rapidly with respect to developing threats, such as terrorism, and dual-use technologies, such as synthetic biology, that are challenging how we think about biosafety and biosecurity. Further, the fields of public health and international security are colliding, as both of these share the common enemy: intentional or natural biological incidents. To date, biosecurity has been limited to laboratory-level application, and complicating efforts, and lacks credentialed biosecurity professionals skilled in both the biological sciences and threat management techniques. The result is a fragmented field of practice, with tremendous need, from the lab to the outbreak. Underpinning these principles is the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic, providing a historic milestone to examine biosecurity through a global lens.

This book describes biosecurity as a set of practices and principles to be augmented out of the constrained laboratory environment, and applied to larger efforts, such as international threat reduction and biological incident management.



Redefining Biosecurity by Application in Global Health, Biodefense, and Developing Technologies

The term “biosecurity” has been broadly applied to a variety of industries over several decades, and continues to have various meanings to different audiences. It is generally accepted that the origin of the term can be traced back nearly one hundred years referencing certain agricultural practices in the context of controlling livestock health. Today, the term biosecurity can be widely seen in the laboratory environment, the media, in the context of biodefense, throughout government agencies and ministries worldwide, in discussions of genetically-modified organisms, agriculture, and information technology. Concerns of global health and security could not be more relevant than today, given the paradigm shifts manifested by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the resulting coronavirus pandemic. This book will focus on the challenges that this and future pandemic events will bring and offer biosecurity as a set of practices to aid in humanity’s combat of devastating emerging infectious diseases. To further add complexity to the definition are the rapid advances in technologies that challenge our understanding of how to apply biosecurity principles and practices. Finally, unlike the well-established field of biological safety (i.e., biosafety), there remains a lack of credentialing programs to define a “biosecurity professional.” Taken together, our modern and technologically-driven world is in need redefining what biosecurity means and how it is practiced.
Ryan N. Burnette

The Biothreat Assessment as a Foundation for Biosecurity

Threat management as a system or theory, and practice, is rooted in the ability to systematically identify potential threats and mitigate the risks of these threats acting upon a particular asset. Threat assessment is not a snapshot in time but a living process to detect threats as early as possible to facilitate mitigation and management of them. As this chapter will discuss, the foundations of threat assessment and management as a body of expertise draws its history from law enforcement, security, and the behavioral sciences. The outputs of this history include a variety of tools, from behavioral analysis to discrete security protocols that continue to demonstrate their effectiveness in the related fields of investigations, security, defense, and personnel protection. Despite the significant differences between the assets in a traditional threat management perspective (e.g., human assets/targets) and the biosecurity perspective (e.g., biological agents, toxins, animals, technology, data) tenets of threat management can be effectively applied to the fields of biosecurity, if not underpin it. This chapter will explore the modification and adaptation of the threat management backbone tool, threat assessment, into a biosecurity specific tool. Effectively, this chapter will describe the resulting biothreat assessment process.
Ryan N. Burnette, Chuck Tobin

Expanding the Scope of Biosecurity Through One Health

Biosecurity is an integral part of biorisk management in a laboratory, and its definitions and applications extend well beyond, impacting all aspects of human, animal, and environmental health. At a basic level, biosecurity aims to protect valuable biological material assets. Once the asset is well-characterized, vulnerabilities and potential threats can be assessed and managed in context of its nature and environment. Approaching threat assessment from the perspective of the biological asset —whether the asset in question is a pathogen, medicament, biotechnology, plant, animal, or associated data—offers opportunity to facilitate useful mitigations for its protection or conservation. Considering biosecurity through One Health’s integrative, multi-disciplinary lens is key to achieve systemic health security for the humans, animals, and the environment. This approach requires critical evaluation and systems-level analysis, rather than limiting the scope of intervention to best practices. While the current speed of innovation threatens to outpace security, an understanding of the principles of biosecurity applied will facilitate decisions from the local to the global level.
Lauren Richardson

Biodefense Promotes Biosecurity Through Threat Reduction Programs and Global Health Security

As the world faces an increasing rate of emergent and re-emergent infectious disease events, whole-of-government biosecurity systems are critical now more than ever for countries to detect and contain biothreats at their source. While most disease outbreaks occur naturally, it is important to prepare for potentially devasting outbreaks caused by an intentional release of a dangerous agent. Threat reduction programs and global health security aim to prevent the unauthorized access, loss, theft, deliberate release, or misuse of hazardous biological agents and associated-related information and actively promote responsible conduct of life science research and oversight of dual-use risks. Laboratory staff who have access to especially dangerous pathogens can avert intentional releases through appropriate training, tools, and oversight in biosecurity. Ultimately, biosecurity practices help countries to counter natural and manmade biological threats while also fostering safe scientific progress. Strong biosecurity capacity is key to building defenses and optimizing global health security against biological threats. This chapter will focus on the application of biosecurity in major U.S. and international biodefense and threat reduction programs, as well as analyze the pivotal role of biosecurity in the context of global health security.
Brittany Linkous, Ryan N. Burnette, Samantha Dittrich

Applied Biosecurity in the Face of Epidemics and Pandemics: The COVID-19 Pandemic

Biosecurity as a discipline remains largely defined by institutional-level practices unbounded by the guidelines and checklists prevalent in the field of biosafety. The result is a high-level of interpretation at the individual and institutional level of defining and implementing biosecurity. At its core, biosecurity frameworks are largely anchored to a mirrored process of risk assessment and management. Therefore, biosecurity is still rooted in the fields of threat and vulnerability assessment, analysis, and management. The aperture of threat and vulnerability management may at first seem contrary to the overall field of public health where emerging infectious disease, and the negative consequences, are more commonly perceived as risks. However, in the spectrum of threat to vulnerability to risk (see Chaps. “Redefining Biosecurity by Application in Global Health, Biodefense, and Developing Technologies” and “The Biothreat Assessment as a Foundation for Biosecurity”) infectious disease as an entity emerges as a threat. The ability or inability to respond and defend from infectious disease can be characterized as vulnerabilities. The negative consequences (e.g., spread of, infection, mortality, economic impacts) exist as a probability of occurrence, or simply, a risk. This is increasingly evident at the time of composition of this chapter and this book during the global COVID-19 pandemic. This chapter explores the parallels and distinctions of biosecurity-related concepts as they apply to the COVID-19 pandemic, lessons learned from previous epidemics and pandemics, and offers suggestions of stronger connectivity to threat and vulnerability management concepts as we inevitably prepare for future epidemics and pandemics.
Samantha Dittrich, Lauren Richardson, Ryan N. Burnette

The Changing Face of Biological Research and the Growing Role of Biosecurity

The landscape of biological research is an ever evolving one. From the discovery of bacteriophages in 1915 to the reprogramming and assembly of organisms in 1972, the 20th century was one of the great breakthroughs that transformed the way biology is studied and applied to real-world problems. Advances in biology and biotechnology have provided new capabilities for addressing social needs in health, agriculture, energy, environment, and defense. The pace of scientific and technological advancement is accelerating rapidly with the inclusion of new scientific disciplines (e.g., material and information sciences), non-traditional practitioners (e.g., community laboratories and engineers), and new funding mechanisms (e.g., cross-over venture capital and crowdsourcing). Since the start of the twenty-first century, several discoveries and technological breakthroughs far outpace the wildest of imaginations of the twentieth century. These technology developments offer great hope for biodefense and global health security, but they also have the potential for increasing biosecurity risks. In this chapter, we explore the biotechnology landscape, including scientific communication, advances and applications, practitioners, and funders.
Nicolas Dunaway, Kavita M. Berger

Emerging Biosecurity Considerations at the Intersection of Biotechnology and Technology

Humanity is at a unique point in history where what was once believed to be science fiction is now shifting to become the real, emerging technology of today. Tantamount to this development of new technologies is the convergence of previously dichotomous disciplines including computer science, cellular biology, molecular biology, mechanical engineering, and technical disciplines. At the intersection of biotechnology and technology are emerging biosecurity considerations worth exploring in the context of innovation, biological design, manufacturing, automation, and artificial intelligence. There are also biosecurity considerations related to individuals and new skill sets developing as a result of technological and biotechnological progress. This chapter explores the various intersections of the world’s most advanced technologies and outlines a model for the “full stack biotechnologist,” a multiskilled expert with myriad capabilities and new considerations for risk and threat potentials. As technology and innovation progress to new heights and capabilities, perhaps the magnum opus of silicone advancement dictated by Moore’s Law will be its impact on giving rise to its potential replacement: biotechnology.
Stephen M. Lewis

Technological Advances that Test the Dual-Use Research of Concern Model

Although malicious use of beneficial science and technology capabilities has elicited concern for many decades, the scientific and security communities have struggled with the review and oversight of dual use life sciences research. During the past twenty years, changes in the biotechnology landscape have increased concern about its exploitation. These changes are: (a) the rapidity with which biotechnologies are emerging, developing, and being applied; (b) the diversity of stakeholders involved in funding, conducting research and development activities, and using the new biotechnologies; and (c) some nonstate actors have expressed interest in using biology to cause harm and a few states have demonstrated use of biotechnology advances for harmful purposes. The multidisciplinary and global nature of life sciences and biotechnology, and diversity of private and government funders of research challenge recently developed approaches for identifying and assessing the dual use potential of biotechnology. Furthermore, development and application of biotechnology are driven by diverse societal needs including medicine, agriculture, environmental remediation, and defense. Entities invest in and leverage newly developed capabilities, such as precise genome editing or data analytics, to address critical needs in their areas. Within this context, this chapter explores challenges to the discourse on dual use implications of life-science research because of technology developments and provides a practical approach for assessing the potential dual use risks of emerging biotechnologies.
Kavita M. Berger


Weitere Informationen

Premium Partner