Biosecurity covers the procedures, practices or other measures used to manage risks from biological organisms (e.g. viruses, bacteria) or their products (e.g. toxins).
The term has different meanings in different contexts. As a few examples:
- In agriculture, "biosecurity" usually refers to efforts to protect food crops or livestock from pests, invasive species, and infectious disease.
- In national security, "biosecurity" is focused on risks from bioweapons, and usually refers to preventing theft, diversion, or deliberate malicious use of biological knowledge, skills, materials, or technologies.
- In many non-English languages, no distinction is commonly made between "biosecurity" and "biosafety".
- Within the effective altruism community, the Open Philanthropy cause report defined biosecurity as covering "a wide range of risks, including natural pandemics, bioterrorism and the intentional deployment of biological weapons, dual use research and the possibility of accidental deployment of biological agents."