Investigating High-Consequence Biological Events of Unknown Origin

  • 7 am EDT / 1 pm CEST
  • Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation

Join NTI and the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Nonproliferation (VCDNP) for an event to explore the possibility of establishing a new “Joint Assessment Mechanism” to strengthen UN-system capabilities to investigate high-consequence biological events of unknown origin. 

Ongoing uncertainty surrounding the source of COVID-19 has highlighted critical gaps in the global biosecurity architecture, including the ability to rapidly discern the source of emerging pandemics. The current conflict in Ukraine has drawn additional attention to these issues, with both disinformation alleging bioweapons development in Ukraine and concerns that Russia may itself use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine as part of a false flag operation.

To meet this need, it will be important to bolster the capabilities of the United Nations system to investigate pandemic origins-whether naturally emerging, accidental or deliberate. As a critical part of this work, the international community will need to fill gaps in capabilities to assess the source of biological events of unknown origin, which falls at the “seam” between existing mechanisms. The aim is to develop a 21st century mechanism, which would take advantage of new tools, methods and technologies, such as bioinformatics, data science, and AI, to build a capability suited to today’s risk environment.

The event will be hosted at the VCDNP office and streamed online. Visit the VCDNP website to register.


James Revill

Head of WMD Programme, UNIDIR

Elena K. Sokova

Executive Director, VCDNP


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