• ARGUMENT: DHS & BIODEFENSEReforming DHS’s Biodefense Operations and Governance

    Today’s biological threats show no signs of desisting any time soon. Naturally occurring outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics, and laboratory accidents pose a growing challenge – while the number of high-containment laboratories and amount of dangerous research continues to increase unabated. “DHS, as chief among those federal departments and agencies responsible for securing the homeland, must overcome its current state of fractionation and demonstrate to the rest of the government, country, and world that it is capable of coordinating and leading efforts in biodefense and other arenas,” Carrie Cordero and Asha M. George write.

  • BIORISKSGain-of-Function Studies Need Stricter Guidance: Researchers

    Researchers and biosecurity specialists are calling on the U.S. government to issue clearer guidance about experiments the government might fund which would make pathogens more transmissible or deadly.

  • BIORISKSAs Science Evolves, Policy Framework Needs to as Well

    In late February, the NIH and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy asked the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity NSABB to make swift progress on its long-overdue review. The panel plans to draft a report outlining its recommendations by the end of the year.

  • WAR IN UKRAINERussia's Claims of Ukrainian Biological Weapons: A Propaganda Ploy?

    By Roman Goncharenko

    Since its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has claimed Kyiv is developing biological weapons with support from the US and Germany. Experts familiar with laboratories in Ukraine say the accusations are groundless.

  • ARGUMENT: AI & WMDsArtificial Intelligence and Chemical and Biological Weapons

    A recent article in Nature offers a disturbing look at the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the creation of chemical and biological weapons. “Anyone unfamiliar with recent innovations in the use of AI to model new drugs will be unpleasantly surprised,” Paul Rosenzweig writes. “The benefits of these innovations are clear. Unfortunately, the possibilities for malicious uses are also becoming clear.”

  • BIODEFENSECurrent and Future Challenges to National Biodefense

    The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense met to discuss the expanding landscape of current and future biological threats, the roles and responsibilities of the federal government in assessing and preparing for various biological threats, and biological weapons, bioterrorism, and biological arms races with the public.

  • PATHOGENSTracing the Path of Pathogens after Large-Scale Contamination with Biological Agents

    To respond quickly to contamination with a biological agent near a major coastal city, DHS ST and partners have examined the movement of pathogen’ spores, which may be carried downstream by runoff after rainstorms, thereby complicating mitigation and decontamination measures.

  • DISINFORMATIONUN, U.S. Dismiss Russian Claim of Biological Weapons Program in Ukraine

    By Margaret Besheer

    Western nations criticized Russia on Friday for trying to use the U.N. Security Council to spread disinformation and lies about alleged biological weapons laboratories in Ukraine, which the U.N. said are untrue.

  • Gene EditingZombie Apocalypse? How Gene Editing Could Be Used as a Weapon – and What to Do About It

    By Pin Lean Lau

    There is a scarier scenario that a repeat of the COVID-1 pandemic: What if the threat wasn’t COVID-19, but a gene-edited pathogen designed to turn us into zombies – ghost-like, agitated creatures with little awareness of our surroundings? With recent advances in gene editing, it may be possible for bioterrorists to design viruses capable of altering our behavior, spreading such a disease and ultimately killing us. And chances are we still wouldn’t be sufficiently prepared to deal with it.

  • PandemicsAddressing Natural and Deliberate Biological Threats: Early Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic

    “Infectious disease threats will continue to emerge, whether naturally, by accident, or deliberately. Stopping them from spreading and causing mass effects is possible even today, but we have much work to do bringing our assets to bear” said Andy Weber, Senior Fellow at the Council on Strategic Risks (CSR).

  • ARGUMENT: Assessing Biowarfare Biological Weapons in the “Shadow War”

    The COVID-19 pandemic has led to renewed discussion of biological weapons, but Glenn Cross, a former deputy national intelligence officer for Weapons of Mass Destruction responsible for biological weapons analysis, argues that the development and possession of biological weapons is trending dramatically downward since the end of World War II. “Nations likely no longer see utility in developing or possessing biological weapons for use in large-scale, offensive military operations given the devastating capabilities of today’s advanced conventional weapons,” he writes.

  • BiosecurityPromise and Peril: Dual-Use Research in the Life Sciences

    Advances in the life sciences and technology are making important contributions to improving global health. Transformative developments in many fields, however, can also pose risks to global health. It is thus only prudent to assess the potential adverse consequences of choosing particular technological pathways and potentially deleterious applications of technologies.

  • BiosecurityExamining the Practically Nonfunctional Federal Biowatch Program

    The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense’s new report addresses inadequacies of BioWatch, the DHS environmental biodetection program. The report, released on the 20th anniversary of the anthrax attacks, shows that BioWatch system remains ineffective after nearly two decades of operation.

  • ARGUMENT: Improving BiosecurityTwenty Years After the Patriot Act, What Is the Future of Biosecurity?

    The USA Patriot Act was signed into law twenty20 years ago, on 26 October 2001. Yong-Bee Lim, David Gillum, and Kathleen Vogel write Many changes have taken place since 2001, and  “The Patriot Act’s top-down approach cannot fully address this emerging reality, the authors write. Despite twenty years of effort, some old biosecurity issues continue to plague the country, while a whole new biosecurity frontier is opening up.”

  • Anthrax AttacksAnthrax Attacks: 20 Years On

    Twenty years ago this month the United States experienced the scary anthrax letter attacks, which targeted major media outlets and members of Congress.