Biosecurity is a set of preventive measures designed to reduce the risk of transmission of infectious diseases, quarantined pests, invasive alien species, living modified organisms.
While biosecurity does encompass the prevention of the intentional removal (theft) of biological materials from research laboratories, this definition is narrower in scope than the definition used by many experts, including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
These preventative measures are a combination of systems and practices put into its place at legitimate bioscience laboratories to prevent the use of dangerous pathogens and toxins for malicious use, as well as by customs agents and agricultural and natural resource managers to prevent the spread of these biological agents in natural and managed. Reference no. 123 ecosystems.
Although security is usually thought of in terms of "Guards, Gates, and Guns", biosecurity encompasses much more than that and requires the cooperation of scientists, technicians, policy makers, security engineers, and law enforcement officials.
Components of a laboratory biosecurity program include:
- Physical security
- Personnel security
- Material control & accountability
- Transport security
- Information security
- Program management
The advance of the life sciences and biotechnology has the potential to bring great benefits to humankind through responding to societal challenges. However, it is also possible that such advances could be exploited for hostile purposes, something evidenced in a small number of incidents of bioterrorism, but more particularly by the series of large-scale offensive biological warfare programmes carried out by major states in the last century.
Dealing with this challenge, which has been labelled the 'dual-use' dilemma requires a number of different activities such as those identified above as being require for biosecurity.
However, one of the essential ingredients in ensuring that the life sciences continue to generate great benefits and do not become subject to misuse for hostile purposes is a process of engagement between scientists and the security community and the development of strong ethical and normative frameworks to compliment legal and regulatory measures that are being developed by states.
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