The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Global Security Studies

Living Edition
| Editors: Scott Romaniuk, Manish Thapa, Péter Marton

Biosecurity and Biodefense

  • Christopher LongEmail author
Living reference work entry


There is no one agreed-upon definition of biosecurity, but generally it can be understood as society’s collective responsibility to safeguard the population from the dangers presented by pathogenic microbes (Fidler and Gostin 2008, p. 4). Crucially, these dangers can arise from natural sources such as the emergence of a novel influenza virus whose pandemic potential is increased as a result of intensified global circuits of circulation and exchange. Or they can be released in deliberate acts via biological weapons and biological terrorism. In response to these threats, biodefense efforts utilize tools such as vaccines, therapeutics, and detection methods in coordination with data collection, analysis, and intelligence gathering to prevent or mitigate biological attacks against people and agriculture (Ryan and Glarum 2008, p. 19). In recent years, a whole panoply of unique institutions and organizations have been developed, primarily in the USA, along these lines. This has...


Bioterrorism Dual-use Biotechnology Medical countermeasures 
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Further Readings

  1. Elbe, S. (2010). Security and global health. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.Google Scholar
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  7. Rushton, S., & Youde, J. (Eds.). (2015). Routledge handbook of global health security. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of International Relations, School of Global Studies, University of SussexBrightonUK