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How would you advise someone decide between different biosecurity interventions?

by DonyChristie1 min read30th Mar 20201 comment

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Biosecurity
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A lot of money is going to be thrown into biosecurity. What advice would you give to someone (e.g. a policymaker or philanthropist) who is deciding between funding different projects?

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1) There's an entire Global Health Security Agenda that has been shouting about what needs to be done for a decade, as have many other organizations - CHS, the US's Blue Ribbon Panel, Georgetown's GHSS, and I'm sure other places internationally. Ask them where to spend your money, or better yet, read their previous reports that already tell you what needs to be done.

2) For groups that are willing to think about biosecurity risks, or take advice from people who do, think about differential tech development when picking technology to fund. There are lots of technologies that have a clear upside, and almost no downside - biosurveillance, diagnostic technology, vaccine platforms, etc. Don't fund research into gain of function, and try to limit and weigh carefully when deciding what potential dual-use technology to fund.

3) For government decisionmakers - don't throw money into new bureaucracy. We have lots of existing bureaucracy, much of which should be reformed, but replacing it with a new structure and adding layers isn't going to help. And in the US, don't allow a post-9/11 move like what led to building the DHS.