NTI | bio experts address G7 Global Partnership Working Group in Berlin

NTI | bio experts participated in the G7 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction Working Group and Conference on Biosecurity Challenges in Berlin, Germany, where they presented their work to counter catastrophic biological risks.

On October 5, Dr. Piers Millett joined NTI | bio vice president Dr. Jaime Yassif and deputy vice president Hayley Severance to introduce the International Biosecurity and Biosafety Initiative for Science (IBBIS), the first international organization with the primary mission of strengthening bioscience governance to reduce emerging biological risks associated with technological advances. Millett is the founding executive director of IBBIS, which will initially focus on safeguarding DNA synthesis technology before expanding its scope of activities to reducing risks throughout the bioscience and biotechnology research and development lifecycle.

On October 6, Angela Kane, NTI Senior Advisor and former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations for Management and High Representative for Disarmament, joined Yassif to brief G7 Global Partnership officials on the need to create a new Joint Assessment Mechanism (JAM) to discern the source of high-consequence biological events of unknown origin. The ability to rapidly identify the source of emerging pandemics is critical to mitigating their effects in real-time and guarding against future risks. NTI is working with international partners to develop the JAM, which would be housed within the UN Secretary-General’s office and build on resources associated with existing UN mechanisms.

Yassif also briefed the G7 Global Partnership on the utility and impact of the Global Health Security (GHS) Index, a comprehensive assessment of 195 nations’ capacities to prevent and respond to biological threats. The GHS Index, a joint effort between NTI | bio and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, can help countries prepare for future outbreaks by highlighting where they should prioritize investment in capacity building.

On October 7, Yassif and Dr. Nicole Wheeler, NTI Consultant and Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham, provided an overview of the Common Mechanism for DNA Synthesis Screening during the G7 Global Partnership Conference on Current Biosecurity Challenges. NTI is working with the World Economic Forum to develop the Common Mechanism, a tool that DNA providers can use to screen synthetic DNA orders to ensure they do not inadvertently sell the building blocks of dangerous pathogens to malicious actors.

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