NTI | bio VP signs on to “Eight Commonsense Actions on Biosafety and Biosecurity”

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NTI | bio Vice President Jaime Yassif is one of several dozen senior-level expert signatories on a recent Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) report, “Eight Commonsense Actions for Biosafety and Biosecurity.” This report, published on November 21, comes from the CSIS Bipartisan Alliance for Global Health Security’s Working Group on R&D Innovation, a working group that Yassif participated in. The working group has engaged with U.S. government experts, industry leaders, international organizations, and other stakeholders to weigh this question: What concrete actions can and should the U.S. government undertake in the coming few months to strengthen U.S. and global biosafety and biosecurity? The report advocates for eight commonsense actions, including:

  • The White House should finish the job on time of updating and integrating the U.S. Potential Pandemic Pathogen Care and Oversight (P3C0) Policy and Dual-Use Research of Concern (DURC) Policy.
  • The national security advisor should designate a lead on biosafety and biosecurity policy from either—or as a shared responsibility of—the National Security Council (NSC) Directorate for Health Security and Biodefense or the new White House Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy (OPPR).
  • The U.S. government should mandate universal screening of DNA synthesis orders and create incentives to make implementation achievable. It should also extend the voluntary research norm of “know your customer” beyond DNA products to all private sector biotech providers of goods and services.
  • All federal government investments and grants in infectious disease on potential pandemic pathogens—in the United States and internationally—should require a dedicated and integrated investment in biosafety and biosecurity safeguards, including applied research and innovation by design.
  • The U.S. government should pursue a far more muscular diplomacy to secure biosafety and biosecurity safeguards globally. This includes providing diplomatic support for the International Biosecurity and Biosafety Initiative for Science (IBBIS), because even as a nongovernmental organization, IBBIS will potentially advance key U.S. biosecurity and biosafety goals and raise the standards for biosecurity globally.
  • Create rules of the road for U.S.-supported viral discovery work.
  • Invest in research on a rolling, iterative basis on the risks of AI convergence with biotechnologies. This includes investing in an ambitious research agenda to assess the dual-use risks posed by AI-enabled bio design tools; considering steps to prevent large language models from lowering knowledge barriers to the misuse of biology; monitoring ongoing developments in AI-enabled automation of life sciences research; and establishing preemptive guardrails to protect data and advance norms and standards for these technologies.
  • Research and update basic laboratory protections, including fit-for-purpose PPE and workforce training

Read the full report on CSIS’ website.

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