Although numerous scientists and stakeholders recognize a need for increased security measures at microbiological laboratories, Richard Gallagher speaks for many by asking, "Is it possible that we could have a more measured public debate? A more objective assessment of the threat?"1

We contend that biosecurity measures at bioscience institutions should be based on an intellectually defensible risk-assessment approach, which evaluates the probability and consequences that biological material would be maliciously stolen and used as a biological weapon. We believe that this approach would accomplish at least three important goals: 1) help prioritize the various security risks associated with biological materials; 2) help determine how best to protect against those risks; and 3) help establish a credible rationale for an appropriate level of biosecurity.

Under current US regulations, everything listed as select agents must legally be protected by the same security measures, but most experts agree that Bacillus anthracis has...

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