The Interim Director of UNU-IIGH, Dr Obijiofor Aginam delivered a guest lecture in the summer course, “Bioterrorism and Health Intelligence” organized by the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, on 1 December 2016. The course explored the innovative approaches to critical evaluation of risks and responses to biosecurity threats to human health in the modern age. Our systems, thinking, training, legislation and policies have lagged far behind momentous changes in science, leaving us vulnerable to population-level harm from bioterrorism. Synthetic viruses and genetic engineering of pathogens are a reality, with a rapid acceleration of dual-use research of concern (DURC), which is research intended for good which may also be used to cause harm to humans. Participants included stakeholders from multiple sectors involved in bioterrorist response.
In his lecture, Dr Aginam whose expertise cuts across global health governance and regulatory authorities of inter-governmental health institutions identified the gaps in existing normative instruments especially the Biological Weapons Convention, and International Health Regulations (IHR), and called for an integrated normative approach involving networks of states and non-state actors to effectively address emerging biosecurity concerns like DURC.
The lecture is accessible on this YouTube link.