BIO Deutschland Participates in the First Forum on the Topic of Biosecurity
On 6 February 2010, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and the Reserves Association of Rhineland-Palatinate, in cooperation with the ICLS (International Council for the Life Sciences), hosted the First Biosecurity Forum, which was held at the Electoral Palace in Mainz. The forum debated the question of “What would Clausewitz advise on the topic of biosecurity?” Internationally renowned experts from the worlds of science, politics and industry explored a very wide range of issues involved in this topic. In dialogue with around 110 participants, they also looked for possible solutions to dealing with biological threat scenarios.
Rainer Wessel, a member of the board of BIO Deutschland, explained what industry can contribute to the field of biosecurity. He reviewed the rapid development of biological research and biotechnology, particularly in connection with the global research network. According to Wessel, this development means that there are now options which even experts would have regarded as absolutely impossible a few years ago. He said that these options do not only create enormous potential in the field of medicine – and that Germany must not fall behind internationally in this sector on account of ideological reasons – but also lead to the development of new threat scenarios, which Germany must not ignore. According to Wessel, specially manufactured biological weapons are not the real cause of concern. Instead, it is more a matter of keeping an eye on natural pathogens in particular, such as pox or polio, which spread naturally or can become a significant threat by being deliberately spread. In Wessel’s view, the research, manufacture and targeted use of vaccines and antibiotics are the best way to continue increasing biosecurity.
During the panel discussion which rounded off the event, Hans-Peter Weinheimer, Rainer Wessel and the FDP Bundestag Member, Christoph Schnurr (a member of the Standing Committee on Defence) engaged in dialogue with each other and the event participants based on the previously presented information. All of the panel members emphasised once again that Germany has created important prerequisites in the field of civil defence, but that it still has some gaps to fill. The unanimous opinion of the panel members was that it is essential to intensify the communication of information. Wessel also pointed out that it was time to abolish mistaken concepts and prejudices against the biotechnological industry and to make use of new opportunities.
The complete report on the event is available at http://aussen-sicherheitspolitik.de/?p=1414.