Chapter

Who's Minding the Store?

Lynn C. Klotz and Edward J. Sylvester

in Breeding Bio Insecurity

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780226444055
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226444079 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226444079.003.0007
Who's Minding the Store?

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Usually everybody trusts the research institutions' legally mandated institutional biosafety committees (IBCs) to safeguard neighborhoods from harm at the local level by providing expert oversight under the aegis of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 and the Select Agent Rules mandate a series of oversight procedures that seem reasonable for those handling the eighty or so agents on the list. The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) offers a false sense of security, applying only to dual-use research and virtually ignoring other dangerous experiments, and leaving all responsibility in the hands of researchers and IBCs. Finally, even if a government committee could provide adequate oversight compliance with guidelines or regulations, this applies only within the United States. Hence, no one country can be safe unless oversight protections apply internationally.

Keywords: institutional biosafety committees; IBCs; National Institutes of Health; NIH; National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity; NSABB; dual-use research; safe; compliance

Chapter.  5708 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biotechnology

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