Interpol, the international police organization, has launched a campaign to encourage countries to regulate and oversee biological research as well as to register and track laboratory equipment that might be used to construct biological weapons.

Countries should pass new laws to create "national oversight mechanisms" and to impose civil and criminal penalties "to encourage compliance or reduce the risks that terrorists or would-be terrorists get access to these materials," said Ronald K. Noble, Interpol secretary general, in a July 15 talk to the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Law and National Security.

"It is legal in most nations to acquire and even to weaponize pathogens," Noble said. "Because creating a biological weapon is not illegal, police and other law enforcement personnel lack the authority to investigate and interdict such catastrophic preparations at the earliest stages."

Ronald Atlas, immediate past president of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), applauded...

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