Michael Norton, August 13 at 09:17 (above):
– “It is becoming a little, little, more clear that very dangerous diseases strike in or near laboratories that are looking at these vectors. Is there world oversight?”
No, not that I’ve heard of:
– There is a weakness in this biosafety regime, however. There are no surveillance systems of laboratory-acquired infections and, if they occur, there are no mandatory mechanisms in place to notify state and local health officials about those infections. …laboratory-acquired infections fall through the cracks in government surveillance systems. …without good surveillance systems at regional, national, and international levels, it’s difficult to know the extent or severity of the problem until a disaster strikes. […] Until COVID-19, society had largely abdicated research funding decision-making to the scientific community with little, if any, oversight or input by humanists, ethicists, or public health professionals who might not share the scientists’ views.
– At the international level, the World Health Organization should work with the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) Implementation Support Unit to create a laboratory-acquired infection surveillance system based on data collected and reported at the national levels. Biomedical research is inherently dual use; it can provide society great benefits, but it can also be used for ill. The collaboration between WHO and the BWC would send the message that the international community takes these issues seriously.