Federation of American Scientists Case Studies in Dual Use Biological Research Module 5.0: Antibiotic Resistance Case Study
Topic: Discussion Subtopic: References and Further Reading

 
National Research Council of the National Academies, “Biotechnology Research in an Age of Terrorism,” 2004
 
A committee of the National Research Council, chaired by Dr. Gerald R. Fink, aimed to “consider ways to minimize threats from biological warfare and bioterrorism without hindering the progress of biotechnology, which is essential for the health of the nation.” The resulting report notes that “the tension between the spread of technologies that protect us and the spread of technologies that threaten us is the crux of the dilemma.” Among its seven recommendations are ones to develop awareness programs to educate scientists about dual use issues in biotechnology, establishing seven categories of scientific research that should be subject to special review, and creation of NSABB as a means for institutional review and guidance regarding biosecurity issues from NIH. These key provisions have all been enacted or will be pursued in the context of NSABB’s activities. The significance of these actions, this committee and this report are that they represent the first fundamental steps by the life sciences community to provide self-governance to a major post-9/11 issue affecting future biotechnology research.
 
 
 
Atlas, Ronald M. and Reppy, Judith, “Globalizing Biosecurity,” Biosecurity and Bioterrorism, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2005.
 
The authors make the case that biodefense is a “special problem” that encompasses dual use biological research for which a “bright line” between legitimate scientific inquiry and offensive or “dangerous” research is difficult to define. The inability to know intent and the growing desire by government to protect what is considered sensitive research information from terrorists has compelled government and the scientific community to take steps to define roles and responsibilities, and establish controls. These have included actions to limit access to pathogens – most notably provisions of the Patriot Act and the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 – and the establishment of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity to advise the government on dual use research issues. A “multipronged” international effort is proposed which would include a code of conduct for bioscientists, regulations controlling access to pathogens, and transparency of biodefense research.
 

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