Responsible Research with Biological Select Agents and Toxins

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Description: The effort to understand and combat infectious diseases has, during the centuries, produced many key advances in science and medicine--including the development of vaccines, drugs, and other treatments. A subset of this research is conducted with agents that, like anthrax, not only pose a severe threat to the health of humans, plants, and animals but can also be used for ill-intended purposes. Such agents have been listed by the government as biological select agents and toxins. The 2001 anthrax letter attacks prompted the creation of new regulations aimed at increasing security for research with dangerous pathogens. The outcome of the anthrax letter investigation has raised concern about whether these measures are adequate.
Responsible Research with Biological Select Agents and Toxins evaluates both the physical security of select agent laboratories and personnel reliability measures designed to ensure the trustworthiness of those with access to biological select agents and toxins. The book offers a set of guiding principles and recommended changes to minimize security risk and facilitate the productivity of research. The book recommends fostering a culture of trust and responsibility in the laboratory, engaging the community in oversight of the Select Agent Program, and enhancing the operation of the Select Agent Program.
Committee on Laboratory Security and Personnel Reliability Assurance Systems for Laboratories Conducting Research on Biological Select Agents and Toxins
Board on Life Sciences
Division on Earth and Life Studies


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