February 02, 2006

Next generation bioweapons study and nanotechnology

A press release about the study next gen bioweapons (including nanotech/nanobiotech) is here

The newscientist magazine discusses the report as well

The online report about about the study next gen bioweapons is here

the reports Advanced tech discussion starts here

Recommendations are summarized at this link

The key recommendation is: the entire scientific community should broaden its
awareness that bioterrorism threats now include, for example, new
approaches for manipulating or killing a host organism or for
producing synthetic micro-organisms, the report says. "U.S. national
biodefense programs currently focus on a relatively small number of
specific agents or toxins, but gains in biomedical understanding have
raised major concerns about the next generation of biowarfare agents,"
said committee co-chair David A. Relman, associate professor of
medicine and of microbiology and immunology, Stanford University,
Stanford, Calif. "We need to expand our thinking about the nature of
future biological threats, as well as more fully exploit advances in
the life sciences to create a global public health defense that is
agile and flexible.

The report recommends multidisciplinary measures to identify and
mitigate such dangers over the next five to 10 years. The report, on
"next generation" bioterrorism, was requested by the US government. It
concludes that intelligence agencies are too focused on specific lists
of bacteria and viruses, and are not aware of emerging threats.

Focusing on the list of about 60 "select agents", such as the smallpox
virus and botulism toxin, might simply divert resources from newer and
more dangerous threats, such as RNA interference, synthetic biology or
nanotechnology.

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