Federation of American Scientists Module 1.0: Introduction
Topic: Biosecurity: Why Should We Care? Subtopic: What is Biosecurity and Why Should We Care?

Biosecurity Image

Biosecurity is any measure aimed at preventing the purposeful misuse of science. It includes measures to prevent access to dangerous pathogens and toxins as well as raising barriers to the production or use of bioweapons. Besides such typical security measures, it includes basic awareness efforts that decrease the possibility of people misusing science from within the academic research community. In 1999, the U.S. Commission on National Security in the 21st Century noted, “…the most serious threat to our security may consist of unannounced attacks on American cities by sub-national groups using genetically engineered pathogens.” The acquisition of bioweapons and biotechnology is becoming easier as technology spreads and advanced scientific techniques become more accessible globally. Knowledge and experience easily spread as a consequence of scientific exchange, commercial applications and the internet, and the normal movement of scientists and skilled technicians. Involvement of the scientific community is a crucial component of modern biosecurity since research on pathogens has increased dramatically since 9/11.

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Case Studies Biosecurity: Why Should We Care? History of Bioweapons Control Efforts Discussion References Home