Biosecurity: The opportunities and threats of industrialization and personalization

By Gigi Kwik Gronvall, November 1, 2015

Two trends will dominate biosecurity over the next decade, shaping both opportunities and threats. The first is industrialization, as biotechnology becomes a globally important manufacturing base and economic force. The second is personalization, as an increasing number of individuals become able to harness the biological sciences to their own ends. The rules and regulations that emerge to govern the field will have an important impact. Safety will also be a major concern, because no laboratory is 100 percent accident free; to lower the risk to lab workers and the public, establishing protocols, using protective equipment, and raising the political profile of biosafety are essential. To meet the biosecurity challenge it will also be necessary to have health care systems that can rapidly respond to epidemics. Partnerships between nations will become even more important for learning early about potential threats, preventing them where possible, and acting quickly to limit their consequences.

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