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Academies to issue biosecurity report

February 6, 2006 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 84, Issue 6

The National Academies announced the spring publication of a report that calls for a coordinated global effort to stem the growing risk that new biomedical advances will be carelessly misused or used to make the next generation of biological weapons. Among the report's key recommendations is that fundamental research remain unrestricted except in those cases where national security mandates classification. Another suggestion calls for the creation by law of an independent advisory body for the intelligence community. Unlike the Department of Health & Human Services' recently formed National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, which focuses on existing dual-use biological research, the efforts of the proposed advisory group would be aimed at anticipating future threats. The report also adds its voice to others by calling for a beefed-up public health infrastructure and better coordination among public health agencies at all government levels. The report, "Globalization, Biosecurity & the Future of the Life Sciences," is a joint effort of the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine and builds on the work of the 2004 report "Biotechnology Research in an Age of Terrorism," more commonly called the Fink report.


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