Biothreat

IQT Lab B.Next and the National Security Implications of 21st Century Life Sciences Download Full Article

Tara O'Toole and Stephanie Rogers / IQT Quarterly Winter 2016

B.Next, an IQT Lab, will explore a complex and increasingly urgent problem: how can we rapidly detect and quench epidemics of infectious disease — whether they arise from natural causes or acts of bioterror?

Since 2013, IQT has launched four strategic initiatives, known collectively as IQT Labs. These initiatives are intended to address complex, urgent national security problems as they intersect with disruptive, gamechanging evolutions in science and technology. IQT Labs will pursue collaborations among government customers, innovative private sector partners, and academia in an effort to understand, illustrate, and demonstrate emerging technologies and their potential roles in national security.

The persistent — and increasing — risk of infectious disease epidemics and the potential for catastrophic bioterror attacks are evident national security concerns. Meanwhile, extraordinary advances are being made in the life sciences and biotechnologies. The capabilities produced by the digital revolution — e.g., sensors, advanced analytics, and mobile communications — are converging with our ability to comprehend and manipulate the parts, circuits, and operating systems of living organisms and biological systems. B.Next will seek to exploit the expanding understanding of how epidemics arise and unfold, and the emerging array of powerful biotechnologies to construct a technology architecture for biodefense. This architecture of extant and emerging capabilities will serve to map how, given the appropriate will, imagination, and resources, we might significantly improve epidemic detection and response.

 

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