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Experts: Expanding biotechnology research in developing countries key to countering bioterrorism

Experts at the Canadian Program on Genomics and Global Health warn that global efforts to combat bioterrorism are on a potential collision course with legitimate biotechnology pursuits that hold the promise of improving life for millions of the world's poorest people.

In a report released Feb. 27, DNA for Peace: Reconciling Biodevelopment and Biosecurity,* the CPGGH, part of the University of Toronto's Joint Centre for Bioethics (JCB), calls for a global network of scientists to both promote biotechnology research to fight disease, hunger and poverty, especially in the developing world, and to keep vigil against the misuse of biological science.

The report, online at www.utoronto.ca/jcb/home/news_bioterrorism.htm, calls on world leaders at the G8 meeting in July 2006 to establish a global network to help resolve potential conflicts between bioterrorism control and biotechnology development.

"The need to foster bioscience for development, and the pursuit of biosecurity are in a delicate balance," says study co-author Peter A. Singer, MD. "Our report says: lead with biodevelopment, and biosecurity will follow. Lead with biosecurity, and we may end up with neither. It recommends industrialized countries invest in scientific facilities and personnel abroad, to gain legitimacy to also ensure that those facilities, and bioscience facilities more generally, take appropriate precautions against science misuse.

The CPGGH report says investing in and fostering biotechnology development internationally building the capacity to discover new vaccines or drugs to combat HIV-AIDS and malaria, for example, to reduce pollution or improve crop yields will create the environment and conditions within which to fight bioterrorism, especially in the developing world, by building the network of experts needed to spot attempts to misuse the science. According to Dr. Singer, the prop
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Contact: Terry Collins
terrycollins@rogers.com
416-538-8712
University of Toronto Joint Center for Bioethics
26-Feb-2006


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