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.

October 14, 2014

The article emphasizes on prioritizing activities related to strengthening holistic defense mechanism to combat against natural, accidental or deliberate outbreaks.

Within a gap of eight years, the plague has struck twice in India. The outbreaks caused panic and necessitated an urgent assessment of our public health apparatus vis-a-vis our vulnerability towards infectious diseases. Generally speaking, the resurgence of epidemics and their effects on society demonstrated at least three vital national security issues. They are human mobility (cross-border and intra- border movements), transparency, and tensions between states, (which includes the threat of biological warfare).

December 07, 2013

In late November 2013, doctors working for the Kurdish Red Crescent in Syria traced a deadly strain of polio virus to Pakistan. The vectors of the virus are unknown, but the needle of suspicion is on the Jihadi elements who have travelled all the way to Syria from the tribal badlands of Pakistan where a government polio eradication campaign has been marred by Taliban zealots for the past many years.

 

March 05, 2008

The threat of emerging infectious diseases is a product of the globalisation process. Changing lifestyles, patterns of behaviour and several such complex factors have led to the emergence and spread of disease in India. Outbreak of diseases like SARS, Japanese encephalitis, dengue, chickungunya, malaria and bird flu, etc., in recent times, have critically influenced human lives in India. Added to this, is the spectre of biological terrorism. This can potentially make a state vulnerable to threats.

November 04, 2006

Consider this: The reputation of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, regarded a premier institute for thousands of medical and health care professionals, students and researchers, has been tarnished by a deadly dengue outbreak. How ironic it may sound, the sprawling premise, cramped with quarters and not far from an active but stagnant drain, actually serves as a haven for mosquitoes and other disease carrying vectors.

The deliberate germ attack unleashed against the most powerful country in the world, the United States in late 2001, made us believe that the threat of the 21st century would be human-induced disease outbreaks. Human-induced or not, the subsequent SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and Bird flu outbreaks underscored that infectious disease holds the real threat to humanity in the coming years. The situation would arise due to many factors, such as environmental pollution, overpopulation and excessive human interference in the natural process of life.

July 24, 2006

In January 2006, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that HIV/AIDS has killed 25 million people since it was first identified twenty-five years ago, in 1981. In India, the first case of HIV was detected in Chennai in 1986. Now, as per UNAIDS estimate, the HIV affected people in India is staggering 5.7 million. NACO (National Aids Control Organisation) has put the figure to be 5.2 million. India is second only to South Africa in terms of the overall number of people living with the disease. Although, the statistics vary with various reports, the threat within persists.

November 29, 2005

Recently ‘Bush and Co’ visited Asia to solve the nuclear riddle of North Korea. But along with discussions on nuclear issues at different forums they also attempted to ‘educate’ Asians on various other issues. President Bush had issued a carefully calibrated call for greater liberty throughout Asia, implicitly comparing the "free and democratic Chinese society" in Taiwan with repression in Mainland China. Talking in context of spread of Avian (Bird) Flu, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had also taken an indirect potshot at China.

October 05, 2005

The deadly Japanese Encephalitis (JE) killed over twelve hundred people in less than four months in northern India and neighboring Nepal. The disease has gripped more than 25 districts of Uttar Pradesh, some parts of Bihar in India and Kailali, Banke, Bardiya districts of the Himalayan Kingdom. The situation has deteriorated due to unexpected revival of monsoon in mid September across north India, coupled with a shortfall of vaccines and life-saving drugs.