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Title: National Series Lecture 3 The Web of Prevention

National Series Lecture 3 The Web of Prevention
  • Bradford Disarmament Research Centre Division of
    Peace Studies, University of Bradford, UK

Picture Image Transparent Globe by digitalart -
from http//
  • The new reality What should be done?
  • Exercise 1
  • The Web of Prevention
  • Exercise 2
  • References

Reviewing the threats (Lecture 2)
Natural outbreaks of infectious disease
Safety/accidental risks at laboratories
Manmade threats warfare, crime and terrorism
Unpredictable future of the life sciences
  • No single focal point of threats
  • Many potential actors, materials and information
    can be related to dual-use issues, existing at
    international, regional, national, local and
    individual levels

What should be done?
  • The aim of bisecurity measures
  • To persuade those contemplating the misuse of
    modern biology for hostile purposes that the
    effort and costs are just not worth it at many
    different levels.
  • (Dando 2006)
  • The new reality action is required at ALL
  • Individual, sub-national, national, regional,
    like minded, and international, public, private,
    government and intergovernmental levels.
  • (Littlewood 2005)

The Web of Prevention (WoP)
  • A multifaceted construct of national and
    international efforts to mitigate and respond to
    the potential for the destructive use of the life
    sciences, accidental risks and natural threats of
    disease, has been broadly conceptualised as a Web
    of Prevention (WoP).
  • (Pearson 1993, International Committee of the Red
    Cross 2003
  • British Medical Association 1999, 2004 Feaks et
    al. 2007)

Picture Image Atom by Salvatore Vuono- from
Exercise 1
  • The WoP what should be done?
  • Discuss what kind of international and national
    measures should/could be developed as part of the
    WoP (10 min)
  • Specify security measures to mitigate risks from
    public health and terrorist threats, and from the
    unpredictable future of the life sciences.
  • Report to the class.

Possible components of a WoP
  • To address risks of natural outbreaks of
    infectious disease
  • Public health preparedness and response planning
  • To address safety/accidental risks
  • Laboratory regulations to safely manage
    dangerous pathogens and toxins, to prevent an
    accidental release into the environment and
    unauthorized access also to consider preventing
    the release of methodological information and
    outcomes to unauthorised people
  • To address manmade threats
  • Strong international arms control agreements with
    effective national implementation
  • Internationally coordinated export controls
  • Intelligence
  • Biodefence
  • To address the unpredictable future of the life
  • Oversight Review of security-sensitive science
    and technology developments
  • Promotion of the responsible conduct of research
    through education

Natural threats
Safety risks
Manmade threats
Governance of science
Disease Detection Prevention
  • Need for global capacity building in
  • Diagnostic capacity for relevant diseases
  • Tools for sampling, epidemiological intelligence
    and investigation
  • Diagnostic and detection techniques, tools and
  • Adequate technical expertise
  • International, regional and national laboratory
  • Relevant standards, standard operating procedures
    and best practices
  • Cooperation on the research and development of
    vaccines and diagnostic reagents, and between
    international reference laboratories and research
  • (United Nations 2010)
  • International policy
  • International Health Regulations (WHO 2005)

Public health/biodefence nexus
  • Public health response and preparedness for
    natural outbreaks share characteristics with
    biodefence against terrorism, while the latter
    also requires specific measures to counter
    attacks with weapons (see Franz 2011)
  • Being better prepared to deal with terrorism
    can mean better public health systems overall.
    (Remarks by Kofi Annan 2006)

Terrorism, Crime warfare
Natural outbreaks
Public health/arms control nexus
Since there is no single technology or process
that could be applied to prevent or deter
biological weapons international instruments
for nonproliferation and public health are
critical factors in achieving global health
security. (Bakanidze, Imnadze and Perkins 2010)
Laboratory measures
  • WHO Biosafety Guidelines (2004)
  • Laboratory biosafety is the term used to
    describe the containment principles, technologies
    and practices that are implemented to prevent
    unintentional exposure to pathogens and toxins,
    or their accidental release.
  • Laboratory biosecurity refers to institutional
    and personal security measures designed to
    prevent the loss, theft, misuse, diversion or
    intentional release of pathogens and toxins.

Effective biosafety practices are the very
foundation of laboratory biosecurity activities.
Laboratory measures
  • No one size fits all
  • The Guidelines state that biosafety levels,
    practices and equipment relates but does
    not equate risk groups to the biosafety level
    of laboratories designed to work with organisms
    in each risk group
  • National standards should be developed to
    recognize and address the ongoing responsibility
    of countries and institutions to protect
    specimens, pathogens and toxins from misuse

(For risk groups, see the note section of this
Laboratory measures
  • WHO Biosafety Guidelines but no international
  • Difficult to develop a national standard or
  • Is physical protection enough to ensure safety?
    (are there other social elements relevant to the
  • Laboratory Biorisk Management Standard
  • The CWA 157932008 is the first internationally
    recognised management standard to specifically
    address hazards associated with microbiological
    laboratories at all containment levels.
  • The standard also provides a structured
    approach to managing risk associated with people,
    facilities and working procedures in laboratory

(Huntly 2011)
International prohibition regimes
  • Geneva Protocol of 1925
  • Bans the use of bacteriological weapons
  • The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention
    (BTWC) of 1972/1975
  • Adds further bans e.g. on development of BW of
    all kinds
  • The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) of 1995
  • Also covers toxins
  • UN Security Council Resolution 1540 of 2004
  • Requires all UN member states to ban nuclear,
    chemical and biological weapons by non-state

International prohibition regimes
  • Article I of the BTWC
  • Each State Party to this Convention undertakes
    never in any circumstances to develop, produce,
    stockpile, or otherwise acquire or retain
  • 1. Microbial or other biological agents, or
    toxins whatever their origin or method of
    production, of types and in quantities that have
    no justification for prophylactic, protective or
    other peaceful purposes

Export Controls
  • Aim ensuring that exports do not contribute to
    the development of chemical or biological weapons
  • Targets agents, equipment and expertise
  • (e.g. control lists)
  • Challenges controlling the intangibles
  • (e.g. scientific findings, DNA sequences for
    certain pathogens, methods of weaponization)

Export Controls
  • Security and development dilemmas
  • Article III of the BTWC prohibits the transfer
    of any of the agents, toxins, weapons, equipment
    or means of delivery specified in article I of
    this Convention.
  • Article X of the BTWC allows the fullest
    possible exchange of equipment, materials and
    scientific and technological information for the
    use of bacteriological (biological) agents and
    toxins for peaceful purposes.
  • Strengthening non-proliferation regimes while
    not hampering economic and technological
    development is a critical agenda for both
    dual-use technology and for security

Effective Intelligence
  • Effective intelligence
  • essential for founding good policy and ensuring
    the effective understanding of emerging
  • Failures in intelligence
  • Intelligence failures are nothing new and will
    certainly occur again in the future (Dando
    2006) (e.g. Allied overestimation of German
    biological weapons capabilities in the World War
    period recent Iraq WMD and former Soviet BW
    programmes in reaction to the US biodefence
    programme) (Bansak 2011)
  • Accurate information analysis is not
    straightforward, but is essential for good
    policy decisions

  • Snapshot of biodefence broader than medical
    counter measures

Biodefence Activities Equipment and Facilities
Detection and surveillance Sample collection of biological agents Information gathering and analysis Decontamination Determination of the medical treatment priority of infected victims and their transportation Counter BW programmes Portable sample collection devices Infectious disease designated medical facilities Micro-organism identification facility Advanced outdoor testing facility Reconnaissance vehicle Biological agent warning equipment
  • Closely intertwined offensive and defensive
  • A defensive programme not supported by an
    offensive programme can be worthless. You cannot
    know how to defend against something unless you
    can visualise various methods which can be used
    against you.
  • (General Creasy, 1958)
  • The order in the US tended to be, first, weapon
    development, then development of safety measures
    for troops using the weapons, and, last,
    development of protective countermeasures against
    enemy biological weapons.
  • (SIPRI Vol.2)
  • Transparency is a key against arms
  • (Wright and Ketcham 1990)

Oversight of Research
  • Oversight of dual use research (i.e. research
    which serves, or could serve, both a benign and a
    malign purpose)
  • Crucial in minimising the possibility of the
    assimilation of biological and toxin weapons into
    states military arsenals
  • Often difficult to tell where to draw the line
    between prohibited and permitted research
  • Crucial in avoiding the possibility of
    unnecessary restrictions to scientific freedom
  • (Miller and Selgelid 2007, Smith et. al 2010)

Dual-use dilemma
Oversight of Research
  • Statement on the consideration of biodefence and
    biosecurity (2003)
  • Signed by editors of various prestigious
    scientific journals, including
  • Nature, Science and some 30 other journals.
  • We recognize that on occasions an editor may
    conclude that the potential harm of publication
    outweighs the potential societal benefits.
  • .....the paper should be modified, or not be
  • However, Journals and scientific societies can
    play an important role in encouraging
    investigators to communicate results of research
    in ways that maximize public benefits and
    minimize risks of misuse.
  • .....seminars, meetings, electronic posting,

Exercise 2
  • Role of scientists in the WoP?
  • Discuss the role of scientists in the effort to
    enhance the elements of the WoP (10 min). Who
    should be responsible for identifying and
    monitoring possible research areas of
    concern(scientists, institutions, professional
    bodies, or government) ?
  • How should the balance between security and the
    freedom of science be struck?
  • Report to the class.

Reviews of Science and Technology
  • Reviewing of Science and Technology (ST) is key
    to security
  • The formulation of national security policy is
    partly informed by states in regional and
    international security arrangements.
  • ST developments in the life sciences will
    continue to be considered in the chemical and
    biological weapon (CBW) arms control framework.
  • (Hart and Trapp 2011)

Reviews of Science and Technology
  • BTWC Article XII
  • ...a conference of States Partiesshall be held
    at Geneva, Switzerland, to review the operation
    of the Convention, with a view to assuring that
    the purposes of the preamble and the provisions
    of the Convention
  • Such review shall take into account any new
    scientific and technological developments
    relevant to the Convention.

There is overwhelming acceptance that advances
in ST have implications for a number of articles
of the BTWC.
(McLeish and Revill 2011)
A pre-requisite for life scientists as
they engage with the WoP
  • Needed to effectively review ST under the BTWC
    and to strengthen biosecurity measures requires
    the engagement of practicing scientists
  • Needed to prevent unnecessary restrictions to
    scientific freedom,

Engagement of informed life scientists about
biosecurity issues is key to successful security
  • Education of, and capacity building among,
    scientists on biosecurity issues is necessary for
    successful security
  • Uninformed scientists no effective science
    policy inputs to the WoP

  • Accumulation of international calls for education
  • Inter-Academy Panel Statement on Biosecurity
  • WHO Working Group Reports 2005, 2007
  • OECD Best Practice Guidelines 2007
  • US National Strategy for Countering Biological
    Threats 2009
  • BTWC Final Report of MSP 2005, 2008, 2011

  • 2011 BTWC Final Document of the 7th Review
    Conference Education will be featured in
  • As an annual discussion point under the Standing
    Agenda Item on review of science and
    technological development (the governance of
    science and technology under the BTWC)
  • As a capacity building method for strengthening
    the implementation of the prohibition aspect of
    the BTWC (security purposes)
  • As a capacity building method for developing
    international cooperation in science and
    technology (development purposes)

Education A prerequisite for security,
education and governance under the BTWC
Lack of biosecurity education programmes at the
level of higher education an urgent need for
international efforts
Region/ Country Year Sampled Courses Principal Results
Europe 2008 142 courses in 29 countries Only 3 out of the universities surveyed in Europe offered some form of specific biosecurity module
Japan 2009 197 courses in 62 universities Implementation of ethics education for scientists rarely included dual-use issues
Israel 2009 35 courses in 7 universities A biosecurity act exists along with a report on bioterrorism by its national academy and security council but no education courses
Asia- Pacific 2010 197 courses in 58 universities Few biosecurity education courses, but nascent and growing interest in regional cooperation to promote education
Nationalizing the WoP?
  • How can the WoP be implemented nationally?
  • Different countries have different
    socio-economic contexts,
  • therefore, no one size fits all approach will

List of References
  • The references cited in this lecture are viewable
    in the Notes section of this presentation.