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The role of non-governmental organisations and other interested observers - civil society - has long been neglected by governments in the quest for a world secure from the threat of biological weapons or bioterrorism. New trends illustrate a greater appreciation of a strong need for a cooperative partnership. Governments need to accept and embrace some of these new trends and new technologies. At least since 2001 and the Amerithrax anthrax letters, the USA has had a significant focus on biosecurity and the related subject of biosafety. Biosecurity has also been raised to a place of prominence in security discussions throughout much of the rest of the globe, largely through the mechanisms of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and related groups, but also through the World Health Organization and the implementation of the International Health Regulations, which is scheduled for 2012. Despite this attention, a clear understanding of the meanings of biosecurity and biosafety has yet to be achieved. Partly because of this lack of definition, and largely because of a broader understanding of the capabilities of the life sciences, many topics have begun to fall under the heading of biosecurity. This paper will not be able to explore all of these new topics but will instead attempt to present an overview of some of the issues at play today in the biosecurity dialogue.
Office of Biological Weapons Affairs, Bureau of Verification, Compliance and Implementation, US Department of State, 2201 C Street NW, Room 5669, Washington, DC 20520, USA.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: International journal of antimicrobial agents
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