Biosecurity and Biological Non-Proliferation| Published: 09/03/2019 post
The IFBAs portfolio of programs addresses multiple threats to human security, reaching across the entire spectrum of biological threats from naturally-occurring outbreaks of infectious diseases to disease being used to deliberately cause harm. We recognize that biological agents require a fundamentally different approach to biosecurity given their self-replicating character. Benign pathogens can be rendered pathogenic through genetic engineering. There exists no mechanism to detect removal of pathogens from a facility and theft of a minute quantity could present a serious threat.
They are often present in many types of biological laboratories around the world that are typically accessible to the public and often have a diverse and changing workforce (e.g. hospitals, universities). A small quantity of pathogenic material in the wrong hands would be sufficient to develop a robust biological weapons capacity and could cause a major disease outbreak or global pandemic.
The dual-use nature of biological agents and the difficulties associated with determining if pathogens have been removed from laboratory facilities necessitates an approach to biological security that emphasizes a culture of responsibility and accountability. As a result, securing biological materials is highly dependent on the integrity of the individuals who have access to them.