Theme: Maintaining global biosecurity through emerging science, technology and innovative mechanisms
Since the beginning of the 21st century, there have been outbreaks of new and sudden infectious diseases throughout the world, and in particular, COVID-19 that outbroke at the beginning of 2020, have seriously affected the health of mankind and the economic well-being of all countries. The outbreak of new and sudden infectious diseases not only threatens human life causing large-scale casualties, but also threatens to disrupt society and suggests changes to the international order.
The issue of biosecurity has expanded beyond the scope of pure laboratory research and emerged as a common security challenge of all humanity. The international community needs to work together to strengthen the building of a system for biosecurity risk prevention and control as well as governance, and to reinforce the biosecurity governance capability. Evolving and emerging technologies will play a critical role in enhancing global biosecurity and providing effective solutions to new and emerging global infectious diseases.
While it is true that recent developments in biotechnology, including gene editing and synthetic biology, may pose a threat to biosecurity, they also offer great benefits to human health. For example, biological software algorithms, biosecurity key equipment manufacturing, and biosecurity protection R&D, among others, have enhanced biosecurity; big data and AI technologies are of great value in epidemic forecast and control, vaccine R&D, and social governance during the epidemic period; automated logistics and freight distribution provide an effective and efficient delivery mechanism in scenarios where no physical contact is desired. The question is then, how do we encourage and facilitate emerging science and technology to bring all of the potential benefits to humanity, while minimizing the risks that such endeavours may present?
I. Key technologies requiring breakthroughs in biosecurity
Science and technology is one of the most important means to solve biosecurity, covering a wide variety of areas from material, medicine, computing, to equipment manufacturing. Identifying the key technologies requiring breakthroughs in biosecurity could help grasp the initiative as soon as possible.
II. How to build efficient early warning mechanisms for biosecurity
The best ways of dealing with emerging biosecurity issues are instantaneous warning and early intervention. We are about to enter an intelligently-connected era, and how to capitalize on current advanced digital technologies to build efficient early warning mechanisms is the key to maintain biosecurity.
1. Overview and existing problems of global and national biosecurity early warning mechanisms;
2. The role of artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing and other technologies in biosecurity early warning mechanisms;
3. How to establish and improve biosecurity early warning and global linkage mechanisms?
III. How to strengthen the ability of social control and governance in the period of biological crisis
Sudden biological crises, such as infectious diseases, will have a huge impact on social order and test the ability to govern the flow of people, goods and information. Such crises will also challenge the existing prevention and control as well as treatment protocols, and the allocation of resources. How to use relevant technology to provide support for social governance is the premise of effective crisis control.
1. How to establish an efficient and timely transportation and distribution mechanism for goods during the crisis period?
2. How to effectively control the risks arising from the movement of people during the crisis period?
3. How to establish an authoritative information dissemination mechanism during the crisis period, and how to effectively news reporting with crisis prevention and control?
IV. Scientific and technological ethics and legal issues in the field of biosecurity
Biosecurity systems cannot be separated from scientific and technological ethics and laws and regulations, which are critical in preventing problems before they occur. It is important to clarify the existing ethical issues and legal loopholes or problems in biosecurity to help minimize the risk of biological crisis and provide institutional guarantees for biosecurity.
1. Ethical boundaries of biological laboratories;
2. Relationship between crisis prevention and control and personal privacy protection;
3. Special mechanisms for the prevention and treatment of new drugs and new therapies during crises;
4. The experiences of countries in the construction of biosecurity legal system that can be used for reference.
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