The dilemma of dual use biological research: Polish perspective

Science and Engineering Ethics 16 (1):99-110 (2010)
Abstract
Biological research with legitimate scientific purpose that may be misused to pose a biological threat to public health and/or national security is termed dual use. In Poland there are adequate conditions for conducting experiments that could be qualified as dual use research, and therefore, a risk of attack on Poland or other countries exists. Optimal solutions for limiting such threats are required, and the national system of biosecurity should enable early, reliable, and complete identification of this type of research. Scientists should have a fundamental role in this process, their duty being to immediately, upon identification, report research with dual use potential. An important entity in the identification system of dual use research should also be the Central Register of Biological and Biomedical Research, which gathers information about all biological and biomedical research being conducted in a given country. Publishers, editors, and review committees of journals and other scientific publications should be involved in evaluating results of clinical trials. The National Council of Biosecurity should be the governmental institution responsible for developing a system of dual use research threat prevention. Its role would be to develop codes of conduct, form counsel of expertise, and monitor the problem at national level, while the Dual Use Research Committee would be responsible for individual cases. In Poland, current actions aiming to provide biological safety were based on developing and passing an act about genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) and creating a GMO Committee. Considering experiences of other nations, one should view these actions as fragmentary, and thus insufficient protection against dual use research threats.
Keywords Dual use research
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