Strengthening the biological and toxin weapons convention after COVID-19

Coloured scanning electron microscope image of SARS-CoV-2 infected human bronchial epithelial cells

The impact of COVID-19 on biological security education

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The COVID-19 virus pandemic has again demonstrated the devastating impact that a microbial pathogen can have on our health, society and economic systems. It necessitates a fundamental rethink of how the security of our societies can be better sustained. This rethinking will require many aspects of our security systems to be re-examined, but we concentrate here on the consequences of the rapid advances being made in the life and associated sciences. In this chapter, we will describe and analyse one of the most likely means by which the BTWC could be strengthened at the 9th Review Conference, namely: agreement of an International Aspirational Code of Conduct supported by mandatory biological security education for life and associated scientists. We conclude that a vigorous effort by civil society will be needed to assist the achievement of an agreement on this issue at the 9th Review Conference.

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