The field of biological science is evolving at an increasingly rapid pace. In order to understand how scientific advances affect the implementation of the BWC, States Parties must stay appraised by frequently monitoring and discussing relevant developments.
Official Documents on Science and Technology
Meeting of Experts 2014
An advance version of the relevant ISU background paper can be retrieved here: Advances in Science and Technology Related to the Convention.
Meeting of Experts 2013
BWC/MSP/2013/MX/INF.1/Rev.1 Advances in science and technology related to the Convention – Background information document submitted by the Implementation Support Unit
BWC/MSP/2013/MX/WP.4 Key Biosecurity-Related Changes Made to the U.S. Select Agent Regulations – Submitted by the United States of America
BWC/MSP/2013/MX/WP.5 Developments in Science and Technology – Diagnostics – Submitted by the United States of America
BWC/MSP/2013/MX/WP.8 Advances in science and technology: Vaccine development – Submitted by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
BWC/MSP/2013/MX/WP.11 Advances in laboratory diagnostics, point of care detection, pathogen characterisation and potential benefits to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention – Submitted by South Africa
BWC/MSP/2013/MX/WP.14 Efforts of China in response to the epidemic of H7N9 avian influenza – Submitted by China (includes informal English translation)
Meeting of Experts 2012
BWC/MSP/2012/MX/INF.1 Advances in enabling technologies
BWC/MSP/2012/MX/INF.2 Making avian influenza aerosol-transmissible in mammals
BWC/MSP/2012/MX/INF.3 Science and technology developments that have potential benefits for the Convention
Seventh Review Conference (2011)
BWC/CONF.VII/INF.3 New scientific and technological developments relevant to the Convention – Background information document submitted by the Implementation Support Unit
BWC/CONF.VII/INF.3/Add.1 New scientific and technological developments relevant to the Convention – Addendum (submissions from States Parties)
BWC/CONF.VII/INF.3/Corr.1 New scientific and technological developments relevant to the Convention – Corrigendum
BWC/CONF.VII/INF.3/Corr.2 New scientific and technological developments relevant to the Convention – Corrigendum
BWC/CONF.VII/INF.3/Add.2 New scientific and technological developments relevant to the Convention – Addendum (submissions from States Parties)
BWC/CONF.VII/INF.3/Add.3 New scientific and technological developments relevant to the Convention – Addendum (submissions from States Parties)
Meeting of States Parties 2010
BWC/MSP/2010/INF.1 Background information on scientific and technological developments that may be relevant to the Convention: report on an international workshop in Beijing
Meeting of States Parties 2009
BWC/MSP/2009/INF.1 Background Information on Scientific and Technological Developments that may be Relevant to the Convention – Submitted by the Implementation Support Unit
Meeting of States Parties 2008
BWC/MSP/2008/INF.1 Background Information on Scientific and Technological Developments that may be Relevant to the Convention – Submitted by the Implementation Support Unit
Meeting of Experts 2008
BWC/MSP/2008/MX/INF.3 Oversight of Science – Submitted by the Implementation Support Unit
This background document covers: the need for oversight; calls for oversight; problems with oversight; existing proposals for oversight; different approaches to oversight; as well as requirements for effective oversight.
Sixth Review Conference (2006)
BWC/CONF.VI/INF.4 Background Information Document on New Scientific and Technological Developments Relevant to the Convention
This paper discusses elements of: biotechnology, such as bioprospecting, high-throughout screening, and biological microprocessing; genomics, such as DNA sequencing, DNA synthesis, DNA silencing, DNA shuffling and genomic medicine; proteomics, such as high-affinity binding reagents; bioinformatics and computational biology; systems biology, such as bioregulation; drug discovery, design and delivery, such as combinatorial biochemistry, rational drug design, drug targeting, microencapsulation, biopharming and bioproduction; synthetic biology and biological engineering; as well as other developments, such as nanotechnology, gene therapy, genetic engineering of viruses, anti-viral drugs, detection technologies and biological pest control.
Sumissions from individuals States Parties, to the Sixth Review Conference, can be found on the Sixth Review Conference S&T Papers page.
In July 2013, SB6.0 – the big international synthetic biology meeting – took place in London, United Kingdom. This meeting provided detailed information as to the state of the art of the field. An outreach event on the margins of the scientific conference was held to encourage leading scientists to contribute to the current work programme of the BWC.
In February 2013, the World Health Organization convened an international workshop on Dual Use Research of Concern: Current Issues and Innovative Solutions. The BWC ISU compiled a background document detailing recent work under the Convention relevant to the topic. A summary of this document was circulated at the meeting.
For a comprehensive review of advances in science and technology of potential relevance to the Convention prepared by the ISU, please see this summary. The most recent review includes:
- Details of general trends, such as convergence between fields and disciplines, increasing understandings of the life sciences, progress in biotechnology, global distribution of capacity, open science, as well as media, perceptions and society
- Developments with potential detrimental consequences, such as a series of specific research projects involving increasing the virulence or transmissibility of pathogens as well as antibiotic resistance mechanisms, and possible weapons applications, including: enhancing toxicity, transmission, infectivity, virulence and pathogenicity; synthesizing an agent; circumventing control mechanisms; as well as possibilities offered by neurobiology
- Developments with potential beneficial consequences, including for detection, diagnosis, prevention and prophylaxis, therapeutics, and response capacity
- Advances in enabling technologies, such as improved characterization of biological systems and networks, improved ability to engineer and manipulate biological systems and networks, gathering and manipulating biological information, and converting biological information into digital data and back