The main aim of biosecurity is to protect human health
Biosecurity, as originally conceptualized, is a set of preventive measures designed to reduce the risk of transmission of infectious diseases in crops and livestock, quarantined pests, invasive alien species, and living modified organisms. The emerging nature of biosecurity threats means that small scale risks blow up rapidly, thus an effective policy becomes a challenge for there are limitations on time and resources available for analysing threats and estimating the likelihood of their occurrence.
Biosecurity has multiple meanings and is defined differently according to various disciplines. The term was first used by the agricultural and environmental communities. Starting from the late 1990s in response to the threat of biological terrorism, biosecurity encompasses the prevention of the intentional removal (theft) of biological materials from research laboratories. These preventive measures are a combination of systems and practices put into its place at bioscience laboratories to prevent the use of dangerous pathogens and toxins for malicious use, as well as by customs agents and agricultural and natural resource managers to prevent the spread of these biological agents. Advances in technology have meant that many civilian research projects in medicine have the potential to be used in military applications (dual-use research) and biosecurity protocols are used to prevent dangerous biological materials from falling into the hands of malevolent parties. The National Academy of Sciences define biosecurity as "security against the inadvertent, inappropriate, or intentional malicious or malevolent use of potentially dangerous biological agents or biotechnology, including the development, production, stockpiling, or use of biological weapons as well as outbreaks of newly emergent and epidemic disease".
Controversial experiments in synthetic biology, including the synthesis of poliovirus from its genetic sequence, and the modification of H5N1 for airborne transmission in mammals, led to calls for tighter controls on the materials and information used to perform similar feats. Ideas include better enforcement by national governments and private entities concerning shipments and downloads of such materials, and registration or background check requirements for anyone handling such materials. Initially, health security or biosecurity issues have not been considered as an international security issue especially in the traditional view of international relations. However, some changes in trend have contributed to inclusion of biosecurity (health security) in discussions of security. As time progressed, there was a movement towards securitization. Non-traditional security issues such as climate change, organized crime, terrorism, and landmines came to be included in the definition of international security.
Animal biosecurity is the product of all actions undertaken by an entity to prevent introduction of disease agents into a specific area. Animal biosecurity differs from biosecurity which are measures taken to reduce the risk of infectious agent theft and dispersal by means of bioterrorism. Animal biosecurity is a comprehensive approach, encompassing different means of prevention and containment. A critical element in animal biosecurity, biocontainment, is the control of disease agents already present in a particular area, and works to prevent novel transmissions. Animal biosecurity may protect organisms from infectious agents or noninfectious agents such as toxins or pollutants, and can be executed in areas as large as a nation or as small as a local farm. Animal biosecurity takes into account the epidemiological triad for disease occurrence: the individual host, the disease, and the environment in contributing to disease susceptibility. It aims to improve nonspecific immunity of the host to resist the introduction of an agent, or limit the risk that an agent will be sustained in an environment at adequate levels. Biocontainment, an element of animal biosecurity, works to improve specific immunity towards already present pathogens.
Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefence,