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Events

Our meetings provide a national forum for leaders in the field to explore and discuss priorities, challenges, and policy implications in health security.

Biosafety Biorisks

International Conference on Biosafety and Biorisks

Where scientists, health leaders, and practitioners from all over the world discussed the biosafety and biosecurity challenges presented by SARS, influenza, and other major epidemic threats, as well as the efforts needed to improve international cooperation prior to and during future epidemics.

Overview

The Center for Biosecurity of UPMC organized the International Conference on Biosafety and Biorisks in collaboration with the World Health Organization Communicable Disease Surveillance and Response (CSR) Office in Lyon, France. This meeting convened 150 scientists, health leaders and practitioners from all over the world to discuss biosafety and biosecurity challenges presented by SARS, influenza and other major epidemic threats, as well as the efforts needed to improve international cooperation prior to and during future epidemics. The conference was held in Lyon, France.

At the event, participants discussed the risks and promises of laboratory science in a public health response. For example, the contribution of laboratory research during the 2003 SARS epidemic was essential to the resolution of the epidemic. However, problems arose, and there are lessons to be learned for future outbreaks: Standards for exchanging and tracking research samples are lacking, laboratory escapes have highlighted the need for biosafety training and standards, and research communication standards are needed for critical information to cross professional disciplines.

For the future, effective public health management of pathogens (either natural or man-made) will require harmonization of biosafety, research, and communication standards among nations and across professional disciplines. This conference will give participants a chance to plan for the next multidisciplinary response to an epidemic-so it can be fast, accurate, and safe.

Conference Objectives

  • To share on-the-ground lessons from scientists and public health professionals, learned during SARS and other infectious disease outbreaks of the past.

  • To explore organizational and behavioral approaches to epidemic management and biosafety.

  • To examine the role of WHO, and organizational networks such as ProMED-MAIL, GPHIN, RAS-BICHAT, and Anthrax EuroNet, in preparing for, detecting, and responding to epidemics.

  • To discuss the need for common guidelines that cross professional and national boundaries in resolving a public health crisis-whether that crisis is the result of an emerging natural epidemic, a laboratory accident, or an act of bioterrorism

Organizers: Center for Biosecurity of UPMC; World Health Organization Disease Surveillance and Response Office

Sponsor: The Nuclear Threat Initiative