The Major Distinction Between Biosecurity and Biosafety
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The Major Distinction Between Biosecurity and Biosafety

By CIOReview | Monday, July 26, 2021

Biosecurity aims to keep known infections, whether man-made or naturally occurring, away from populations that are vulnerable to their effects.

FREMONT, CA: Biosecurity refers to the methods and protections that individuals, research labs, businesses, and governments put in place to protect humans, animals, plants, and the environment from being exposed to organisms that can harm them, whether intentionally or unintentionally. A complex approach must be used to balance the legitimate demands of stakeholders with the likelihood of malicious use of the materials without jeopardizing legitimate scientific research and commercial use of these potential pathogens or their pieces. DNA screening programs that assure customer integrity and identify worrisome genetic sequences that could be utilized for malicious purposes are an important component of biosecurity.

Biosecurity is distinct from biosafety, which is concerned with preventing biohazards. One might have heard of biosafety gear like biohazard suits and personal protective equipment (PPE) worn by medical personnel treating patients with viruses like SARS-CoV-2 and Ebola. When a new virus emerges, such as SARS-CoV-2, those working on the front lines of healthcare must take biosafety precautions to avoid becoming infected, while epidemiologists focus on biosecurity measures such as temperature checks and airport screening that can be implemented to stop the virus from spreading.

Biosecurity, like cybersecurity, employs proactive processes and procedures in the hopes of preventing problems before they arise. Biosecurity aims to keep known infections, whether man-made or naturally occurring, away from populations that are vulnerable to their effects. While SARS-CoV-2 is a naturally occurring disease, its severity and worldwide influence highlight the magnitude of the harm and human suffering that unprotected viral exposure may cause.

Stakeholders in synthetic biology can screen for recognized pathogens and seek to prevent them from reaching bad actors or being released accidentally. As a result, it is critical for businesses, governments, and academic institutions worldwide to invest in the cost and complexity of effective biosecurity by screening for threats, identifying threats, and collaborating with law enforcement to prevent or mitigate any risk associated with potential threats. Compared to the cost of dealing with dangers after the fact on a global scale, the cost of proactive biosecurity initiatives that prevent or mitigate a threat is pennies on the dollar, as people see today amid a pandemic.

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