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Category: Biological Issues

Aug. 22, 2019

Biospecimens and the Information Landscape for Biodefense

As genomic sequencing and synthesis tools continue to grow, the genomic information associated with biospecimens is expanding rapidly; the convergence of the physical and digital worlds has yet unexamined impacts to our traditional biodefense frameworks.

July 23, 2019

Systems-based Approach to Biodefense Policy Analysis

In this article, co-authored by Dr. Diane DiEuliis, the authors describe a systems-based analysis of the US biosecurity and biodefense policy landscape to analyze functional relationships between policies. They identify 2 approaches in US policy for countering biological threats: prevention of theft, diversion, or deliberate malicious use of biological technologies, and development of capabilities and knowledge to assess, detect, monitor, respond to, and attribute biological threats.

Dec. 3, 2018

Biotechnology for the Battlefield: In Need of a Strategy

In her article, published on War on the Rocks, CSWMD Senior Research Fellow Dr. Diane DiEuliis discusses the need for a more cohesive strategy to harness the potential uses of biotechnology on the battlefield.

April 4, 2018

Biodata Risks and Synthetic Biology: A Critical Juncture

The tools of synthetic biology and the life sciences are rapidly advancing, as the ability to apply classical engineering to biological systems creates increasing possibilities for innovations in health and medicine, materials science, energy and agriculture

Nov. 3, 2017

Biosecurity Implications for the Synthesis of Horsepox, an Orthopoxvirus

This article examines the biosecurity and biodefense implications resulting from the recent creation of horsepox virus, a noncirculating (extinct) species of orthopoxvirus. Here we examine the technical aspects of the horsepox virus synthesis and conclude that orthopox synthesis experiments currently remain technically challenging—and will continue to be so, even once this work is published in the scientific literature.

Oct. 3, 2017

Options for Synthetic DNA Order Screening, Revisited

DNA synthesis is a valuable research tool in the design of new biological products for medicine and manufacturing, and the ability to chemically synthesize long tracts of DNA has allowed for the development of influenza vaccines and diagnostic tests.

April 14, 2017

The Department of Defense Chemical and Biological Defense Program: An Enabler of the Third Offset Strategy

The US Department of Defense (DOD) established programs to defend against chemical and biological weapons 100 years ago because military leaders understood that the operational capability of the US military is diminished when service member health is compromised. These threats to operational readiness can be from an overt attack using chemical and

Nov. 3, 2015

In Good Health? The Biological Weapons Convention and the “Medicalization” of Security

Since the 1990s, the group of stakeholders working to combat biological weapons (BW) proliferation has broadened to include new actors who have not traditionally focused on security issues, including organizations from the public health sector, researchers in the life sciences, and the biosafety community. This has had significant benefits for the

July 1, 2015

The History of Biological Weapons Use: What We Know and What We Don’t

This article critically reviews the literature on the history of biological warfare, bioterrorism, and biocrimes. The first serious effort to review this entire history, made in 1969, had numerous limitations. In recent decades, several authors have filled many of the gaps in our understanding of the past use of biological agents (including both

Oct. 1, 2009

President Nixon’s Decision to Renounce the U.S. Offensive Biological Weapons Program

The nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union was a prominent feature of the Cold War. A lesser known but equally dangerous element of the superpower competition involved biological weapons (BW), living microorganisms that cause fatal or incapacitating diseases in humans, animals, or plants. By the late 1960s, the United