Anyone interested in following the different issues that make up biosecurity will find a growing number of resources available online. They range from official websites maintained by governments or international organizations to resources from nongovernmental organizations interested in a range of technical and policy topics. The short list below is intended to provide a sample of what is currently available; the list of nongovernmental sites includes only resources on education. Please note that The National Academies is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.
For more information, one website that seeks to provide a “one-stop shop” for national and international resources about biosecurity is the Virtual Biosecurity Center (http://virtualbiosecuritycenter.org/). The National Academies is one the VBC’s participating organizations, which have agreed to share their activities and educational materials through the VBC.
S3: Science, Safety and Security – a new U.S. government resource for materials from many agencies. “The S3 program promotes transparency and broader awareness about the evolving nature of biological agents that can be hazardous, and how to handle and use these agents safely and securely. The resources provided here include information for laboratory personnel who work with potentially hazardous biological agents, their supervisors, the management personnel of the institutions in which they work, policymakers, and the public.”
National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity - “The NSABB is a federal advisory committee chartered to provide advice, guidance, and leadership regarding biosecurity oversight of dual use research, defined as biological research with legitimate scientific purpose that may be misused to pose a biologic threat to public health and/or national security. “
The Select Agent Program - The Select Agent Program is the primary mechanism regulating research on dangerous pathogens in the United States. It is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the Department of Health and Human Services.
The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) - The BWC “was the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning an entire category of weapons. It effectively prohibits the development, production, acquisition, transfer, retention, stockpiling and use of biological and toxin weapons and is a key element in the international community’s efforts to address the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.”
The United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs - This site provides information about international treaties such as the BWC as well as other nonproliferation and disarmament activities of the United Nations.
Selected U.S. and International Documents
Biological Weapons Convention
Biosafety and Biosecurity Manuals and Management
CDC/NIH (National Institutes of Health). 2007. Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories, 5th Edition, L. Casey Chosewood and Deborah E. Wilson, eds. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Biosecurity Policy/Dual Use Issues
NSABB (National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity). 2007. Proposed Framework for the Oversight of Dual Use Life Sciences Research: Strategies for Minimizing the Potential Misuse of Research Information.
OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). 2004. Promoting Responsible Stewardship in the Biosciences: Avoiding Potential Abuse of Research and Resources. Chairman’s Summary. Paris: OECD. Accessed September 15, 2011.
U.S. Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. 2010. New Directions: The Ethics of Synthetic Biology and Emerging Technologies. Washington DC: U.S. Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.