Here we present another current scenario with regard to biosecurity. This time it is a scenario about unexpected scientific results. Is this scenario recognizable? What would you do in such a case? How does your organization deal with this? What does this mean for biosecurity?
The scenario: unexpected results
When discussing the results of an experiment, a harmless strain of bacteria appears to have developed pathogenic properties. These results provide new insight into the genetic factors associated with pathogenic properties of bacteria, which may lead to better prevention or treatment of infectious diseases. However, a colleague notes that these results can be seriously misused if they fall into the wrong hands.
Risks and mitigation suggestions
Unexpected scientific results can sometimes be very valuable and lead to new insights. It is therefore not only important to look at possible dual-use aspects in the research when designing or starting experiments, but also when the experimental design is changed or when the research yields unexpected results. To help researchers and Biorisk Management Advisors (BMA) think about dual-use aspects of the research, Bureau Biosecurity has developed the Dual-use quick scan. The results of the quick scan can also be used for a discussion between the BMA and the researcher to determine whether any dual-use aspects should lead to changes in the experiments or the way in which the results are published. If the results of scientific research contain dual-use aspects, it may be necessary to apply for an export license prior to publication.
Share your scenario
Would you like to discuss further with the Biosecurity Office about how to deal with this scenario, do not hesitate to contact us. If you encounter a biosecurity scenario that you would like to share with colleagues, let us know! The Biosecurity Office can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.