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Anticipating Biosecurity Needs: No Easy Task

SBE Special Section

Advances in biotechnology and synthetic biology are making tremendous impacts in the scientific community. The unprecedented scientific response to SARS-CoV-2 is just one example. However, even before the pandemic, biotechnology advances were transforming a wide range of industries, from farming and agriculture to specialty chemicals and biofuels.

The future of biotechnology is bright, and steps are being taken to nurture growth and ensure continued success. In October 2020, for example, the U.S. Dept. of Defense committed $87 million to develop a biotechnology manufacturing institute called BioMADE, which aims to build a sustainable, domestic bioindustry.

As researchers continue to make advances in biotechnology, industry and governments must ensure that proper biosafety and biosecurity measures are in place to mitigate biothreats. However, anticipating biosafety and biosecurity needs is no easy task. “In a fast-moving and advancing field that has far-reaching implications for the future of health and manufacturing, developing policy options requires significant technical expertise,” writes Gigi K. Gronvall (Johns Hopkins Univ.) in the first article of this special section (pp. 21–24). Scientists must consider biosecurity and biosafety concerns in their work and actively address these concerns in their...

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