AAAS News: Biosecurity Policies Benefit from Experimentation

13 April 2020
by Walter Beckwith

AAAS News covered a paper in Science, Embrace experimentation in biosecurity governance, based on a workshop we ran in 2019.

Biological science and its applications are rapidly evolving, and to keep up with emerging security concerns, their governance should be as well. But due to the rapid pace of change in biological research, the current political landscape and the increased recognition of natural biological threats like COVID-19, existing biosecurity processes are being pushed to their limits.

In response, new ways to govern the life sciences are emerging and challenging traditional assumptions regarding the safety and risks associated with biological research and technology. However, these approaches to governance are often ad hoc responses to newly identified risks and applied without systematic evaluation or critique, according to the authors of a Policy Forum in the April 10 issue of Science.

"It should not take hundreds of thousands of corpses around the world and a recession to get us to assess and address the limitations of our current systems of governing health security and biosecurity," said Sam Weiss Evans, lead author and Harvard University Fellow.

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