[Rushtalk] monkey pox and beyond

Carl Spitzer {C Juno} cwsiv at juno.com
Sat Aug 20 15:34:45 MDT 2022

t Nov 23, 2021 

Strengthening Global Systems to Prevent and Respond to High-Consequence
Biological Threats

Jaime M. Yassif Ph.D.

Vice President, Global Biological Policy and Programs

Chris Isaac

Program Officer, Global Biological Policy and Programs

Kevin P. O’Prey

      * Full Report 
      * Frequently Asked Questions 
Have questions?

Following the recent detection of monkeypox cases across multiple
countries, NTI’s report on the exercise has appeared in a number social
media outlets, noting that the associated fictional scenario featured a
monkeypox outbreak with a start date that roughly coincides with the
current, ongoing outbreak.

Learn more 

In March 2021, NTI partnered with the Munich Security Conference to
conduct a tabletop exercise on reducing high-consequence biological
threats. The exercise examined gaps in national and international
biosecurity and pandemic preparedness architectures—exploring
opportunities to improve prevention and response capabilities for
high-consequence biological events. Participants included 19 senior
leaders and experts from across Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe
with decades of combined experience in public health, biotechnology
industry, international security, and philanthropy.

This report, Strengthening Global Systems to Prevent and Respond to
High-Consequence Biological Threats: Results from the 2021 Tabletop
Exercise Conducted in Partnership with the Munich Security Conference,
written by Jaime M. Yassif, Ph.D., Kevin P. O’Prey, Ph.D., and
Christopher R. Isaac, M.Sc., summarizes key findings from the exercise
and offers actionable recommendations for the international community.

Exercise Summary

Developed in consultation with technical and policy experts, the
fictional exercise scenario portrayed a deadly, global pandemic
involving an unusual strain of monkeypox virus that first emerged in the
fictional nation of Brinia and spread globally over 18 months.
Ultimately, the exercise scenario revealed that the initial outbreak was
caused by a terrorist attack using a pathogen engineered in a laboratory
with inadequate biosafety and biosecurity provisions and weak oversight.
By the end of the exercise, the fictional pandemic resulted in more than
three billion cases and 270 million fatalities worldwide.

Discussions throughout the tabletop exercise generated a range of
valuable insights and key findings. Most significantly, exercise
participants agreed that, notwithstanding improvements following the
global response to COVID-19, the international system of pandemic
prevention, detection, analysis, warning, and response is woefully
inadequate to address current and anticipated future challenges. Gaps in
the international biosecurity and pandemic preparedness architecture are
extensive and fundamental, undermining the ability of the international
community to prevent and mount effective responses to future biological
events—including those that could match the impacts of COVID-19 or cause
damage that is significantly more severe.

Report Findings and Recommendations

Discussion among exercise participants led to the following key

(The full findings are available on page 14 of the report.)

      * Weak global detection, assessment, and warning of pandemic
        risks. The international community needs a more robust,
        transparent detection, evaluation, and early warning system that
        can rapidly communicate actionable information about pandemic
      * Gaps in national-level preparedness. National governments should
        improve preparedness by developing national-level pandemic
        response plans built upon a coherent system of “triggers” that
        prompt anticipatory action, despite uncertainty and near-term
        costs—in other words, on a “no-regrets” basis.
      * Gaps in biological research governance. The international system
        for governing dual-use biological research is neither prepared
        to meet today’s security requirements, nor is it ready for
        significantly expanded challenges in the future. There are risk
        reduction needs throughout the bioscience research and
        development life cycle.
      * Insufficient financing of international preparedness for
        pandemics. Many countries around the world lack financing to
        make the essential national investments in pandemic

To address these findings, the report authors developed the following

(The full recommendations are available on page 22 of the report.)

     1. Bolster international systems for pandemic risk assessment,
        warning, and investigating outbreak origins 
              * The WHO should establish a graded, transparent,
                international public health alert system.
              * The United Nations (UN) system should establish a new
                mechanism for investigating high-consequence biological
                events of unknown origin, which we refer to as a “Joint
                Assessment Mechanism.”
     2. Develop and institute national-level triggers for early,
        proactive pandemic response 
              * National governments must adopt a “no-regrets” approach
                to pandemic response, taking anticipatory action—as
                opposed to reacting to mounting case counts and
                fatalities, which are lagging indicators.
              * To facilitate anticipatory action on a no-regrets basis,
                national governments should develop national-level plans
                that define and incorporate “triggers” for responding to
                high-consequence biological events.
     3. Establish an international entity dedicated to reducing emerging
        biological risks associated with rapid technology advances 
              * The international community should establish an entity
                dedicated to reducing the risk of catastrophic events
                due to accidental misuse or deliberate abuse of
                bioscience and biotechnology.
              * To meaningfully reduce risk, the entity should support
                interventions throughout the bioscience and
                biotechnology research and development life cycle—from
                funding, through execution, and on to publication or
     4. Develop a catalytic global health security fund to accelerate
        pandemic preparedness capacity building in countries around the
              * National leaders, development banks, philanthropic
                donors, and the private sector should establish and
                resource a new financing mechanism to bolster global
                health security and pandemic preparedness.
              * The design and operations of the fund should be
                catalytic—incentivizing national governments to invest
                in their own preparedness over the long term.
     5. Establish a robust international process to tackle the challenge
        of supply chain resilience 
              * The UN Secretary General should convene a high-level
                panel to develop recommendations for critical measures
                to bolster global supply chain resilience for medical
                and public health supplies.

Click here to learn more about the November 23, 2021 launch event for
this report on the margins of the Biological Weapons Convention Meeting
of States Parties.

To learn more about NTI’s previous tabletop exercises at the Munich
Security Conference, see our 2019 report, “A Spreading Plague,” and our
2020 report,  “Preventing Global Catastrophic Biological Risks.”

Stay Informed

Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest on nuclear and biological

Sign Up 

More on

      * Biological
      * Biological Agents
      * Biological Counterproliferation and Defense
      * Biological Non-proliferation and Disarmament
      * Biosecurity
Tutorial on Biological Weapons Nonproliferation 

Teaching Tool Oct 14, 2021 

Tutorial on Biological Weapons Nonproliferation
Understanding biological weapons, as well as biosafety, biosecurity, and
BW nonproliferation, is the focus of this tutorial.

Preventing Global Catastrophic Biological Risks 

Report Sep 29, 2020 

Preventing Global Catastrophic Biological Risks
NTI | bio convened senior leaders from around the world for a
scenario-based tabletop exercise designed to identify gaps in global
capabilities to prevent and respond to high-consequence biological

The Global Health Security Index 

Index Oct 26, 2019 

The Global Health Security Index
The first comprehensive assessment of global health security
capabilities in 195 countries.


Nuclear Threat Initiative
1776 Eye Street, NW
Suite 600
Washington, DC 20006

(202) 296-4810


-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://galene.csd.net/pipermail/rushtalk/attachments/20220820/d052189c/attachment-0001.html>

More information about the Rushtalk mailing list