Biological Engagement Programs: Reducing Threats and Strengthening Global Health Security Through Scientific Collaboration
Jeanne M. Fair
Hillary H. Carter
Biological engagement programs are a set of projects or activities between partner countries that strengthen global health security to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. Engagement programs are an effective way to work collaboratively towards a common threat reduction goal, usually with a strong focus on strengthening health systems and making the world a safer place. Cooperative programs are built upon trust and sharing of information and resources to increase the capacity and capabilities of partner countries. Biological engagement programs reduce the threat of infectious disease with a focus on pathogens of security concern, such as those pathogens identified by the U.S. Government as Biological Select Agent and Toxins. These programs seek to develop technical or scientific relationships between countries to combat infectious diseases both in humans and animals. Through laboratory biorisk management, diagnostics, pathogen detection, biosurveillance and countermeasure development for infectious diseases, deep relationships are fostered between countries. Biological engagement programs are designed to address dual-use issues in pathogen research by promoting responsible science methodologies and cultures. Scientific collaboration is a core mechanism for engagement programs are designed to strengthen global health security, including prevention of avoidable epidemics; detection of threats as early as possible; and rapid and effective outbreak response. This Research Topic discusses Biological Engagement Programs, highlighting the successes and challenges of these cooperative programs. Articles in this topic outlined established engagement programs as well as described what has been learned from historical cooperative engagement programs not focused on infectious diseases. Articles in this topic highlighted selected research, trainings, and programs in Biological Engagement Programs from around the world. This Topic eBook first delves into Policies and Lessons Learned; then describes Initiatives in Biosafety & Biosecurity; the core of this work documents Cooperative Research Results from the field; then lastly the Topic lays out potential Future Directions to the continued success of the World’s cooperative science in reducing the threat of infectious diseases.