Investigating High-Consequence Biological Events of Unknown Origin

  • 1:15-2:45 PM EDT
  • Conference Room B, United Nations Secretariat Building

COVID-19 has revealed that the international community is woefully unprepared to respond to pandemics and rapidly determine their origins. This ability is critical to mitigating the effects of a pandemic in real time and guarding against future risks. While the World Health Organization and the United Nations Secretary-General have existing mechanisms to investigate naturally occurring outbreaks and the alleged deliberate use of bioweapons, there is a gap in the international community’s ability to rapidly assess the source of biological events of unknown origin.

NTI is working with international partners to explore the establishment of a new “Joint Assessment Mechanism” to discern the source of high-consequence biological events of unknown origin. This mechanism would assess situations of ambiguity when it is unclear if a biological event emerged naturally or was the result of a deliberate or accidental release. Join this panel discussion to learn more about the political and technical considerations for this mechanism, and how it can mitigate biological catastrophe and strengthen the United Nations systems.

This event is being hosted as a side event at the NPT Review Conference. Lunch for participants will be provided near the Vienna Café.

Those who attend NTI-sponsored events agree to be wholly respectful, professional, and free of bias, prejudice, and harassment. Learn more at


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