This week, diplomats from around the world are meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, as part of an annual gathering of state parties for the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). The BWC has an important mandate: It prohibits the 182 countries that have signed on and ratified the convention from developing, producing, and stockpiling biological weapons.
The BWC, and the biosecurity community broadly, has historically been more focused on existing pathogens with clear potential to be used as biological weapons, such as anthrax and the agents causing botulism and Q fever. In addition, health security experts are worried about the “next big one” — the next global pandemic. Pandemic diseases are often zoonotic, meaning they jump from animals to humans. Zoonotic diseases like Ebola, Zika, SARS, and HIV are created when, say, the wrong pig meets up with the wrong bat — and then meets the wrong human.
Read more about this development here.