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Announcing a new biosecurity syllabus - Pandemic Interventions Course. View the syllabus on the website here.


This is an introductory syllabus and no background knowledge is required. It focusses on specific interventions that can help prevent future pandemics, and is targeted at a broad audience. The pilot version was run in Oxford in November-December 2023.

How to use

  • Use the content as a resource bank by reading the resources yourself
  • Take part in an online discussion group. Register your interest here, but note that when this runs again is currently dependent on interest and my own capacity
  • If you are in interested in running this syllabus, please send me a private message or fill in this form.

The content

There are four weeks of content in the discussion group covering the following areas:

  • Week 1: Technological advances (advances in biotechnology, dual use research of concern, use of artificial intelligence)
  • Week 2: Biological/biotech interventions (metagenomic sequencing, point of care diagnostics, vaccine technologies)
  • Week 3: Engineering interventions (personal protective equipment, germicidal ultraviolet, ventilation systems)
  • Week 4: Policy interventions and pandemic modelling (national policy interventions, modelling pandemic spread and intervention effects, international coordination)

Each of these areas contain about 1.5 hour of reading, additional optional readings, and discussion prompts. There are additional optional readings focusing specifically on antimicrobial resistance. 

The website also includes a page giving context on pandemic preparedness, why it is important, some key statistics and a glossary.

Why create a new biosecurity syllabus?

There are multiple biosecurity reading lists or syllabuses that exist, which have further readings on them and that readers of this post might find useful.

This syllabus allows people to get a brief background on specific interventions which might be high impact, which may be particularly useful for those who will go on to do projects or further research in an area. This includes for projects such as those run by Oxford Biosecurity Group.

More detailed rationale for creating the syllabus:

  • Up-to-date - recent readings/sources were selected where possible
  • Prioritised - readings were selected that give a good introduction to a particular area in a relatively short and understandable way, and having fewer readings makes it easier to know where to start when first getting involved
  • Short - for somebody new to an area, doing a 4 week short course is likely more accessible than the typical 8 week fellowship length
  • Specific interventions - gives a short introduction to and is focused on specific promising interventions, giving a good starting point for further research
  • Broader context - the readings and background context also explain how these interventions are relevant in non-pandemic times, which is useful to know when trying to get those interventions implemented. This broader context also helps engage people working on or interested in other parts of infection control

By the end of this syllabus you will:

  • Have some background in a range of different pandemic preparedness interventions, including their pros and cons and some policy considerations involved
  • Learn about some organisations working in the space and the type of work that they are doing (hint: look at who is writing the linked readings)
  • Get an idea of several ways that you can get started with a career in pandemic preparedness


I hope you find the syllabus useful. Let me know what you think via comment, private message or by filling out this optionally anonymous form.

With thanks to everyone who read through and left comments on the syllabus, including Anemone Franz, Conrad Kunadu, Gregory Lewis, James Lin, Joshua Blake, Max Görlitz, Phil Palmer, Sebastian Schmidt, Sofya Lebedeva and Tessa Alexanian. The format was partially inspired by SERI BITS, which goes into greater depth, and those who want further information about certain interventions might find it useful.

All errors and final reading selection remain my own.





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Thanks Julia, and great list that you've put together (I wasn't previously aware of it). This post also links some other biosecurity reading lists/syllabuses in the 'Why create a new biosecurity syllabus', in case you think any of those should be added as well.

Wasn't aware of this list! Cool

It's fantastic to see that this is public now; thanks, Lin!

Thanks Max!

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