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Draft Report: Enhancing Personnel Reliability among Individuals with Access to Select Agents

Enhancing Personnel Reliability among Individuals with Access to Select Agents, Report of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB), December 2011

  • “Scientific research on highly pathogenic microorganisms and toxins underpins our ability to successfully combat infectious diseases affecting humans, animals and plants, and enables the development of effective countermeasures against bioterrorism threats. An in-depth understanding of biological select agents has been essential to the development of new and improved detection and diagnostic capabilities, antimicrobial and antitoxin treatments, and preventative measures. Such research has been responsible for the development of countless vaccines, therapeutic antibodies, antimicrobial treatments, and strategies aimed at augmenting the human immune response to more effectively target pathogens. Historically, research on select agents, such as the variola virus, has resulted in vaccines and/or therapies that have greatly reduced the rates of human morbidity and mortality across the globe, and, in turn, significantly lengthened the human lifespan. Such research conducted on plant and animal pathogens has greatly contributed to the development of a safe and nutritious food supply that is readily available at a fairly low cost. In addition, select agent research is critical to developing rapid detection and diagnostic technologies that will greatly enhance our capabilities to respond to disease outbreaks and acts of bioterrorism.”
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