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Biosafety, Biosecurity and Code of Ethics

B.M. Gandhi
January 2015

The dual use research in life sciences has raised serious concerns for bio-safety and bio-security today as there exists possibilities of misuse of knowledge, information, products and technologies to promote bio-terrorism or bio-warfare activities. Misuse may pose consequential threat to public health and safety, agricultural crops and other plants, animals, the environment, material or national security. India has strict and robust regulations on bio-safety and bio-security policies that provide adequate safeguards for responsible conduct and oversight of life sciences research. However, safety measures are far from satisfactory and the implementation agencies are weak. There is an acute shortage of technically-trained manpower and machinery to strictly enforce the regulatory system.

This paper thus highlights the strength of the existing regulations, but points at the urgent need for: a) coordinated approach by various government agencies and b) capacity building for speedy implementation of existing regulations in order to promote good bio-safety and bio-security practices in India.

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Dr. B.M. Gandhi is Chief Executive Officer at NeoBioMed Services (100, Vasant Enclave, New Delhi), India. He was formerly Advisor to Government of India in the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology.