Biopreparedness is about developing sound national and international capabilities to respond, investigate and mitigate outbreaks of disease, including those due to alleged use of biological weapons. Regular exercises (table-top and field training) are essential tools in building and sustaining effective capabilities.
In May 2017, I took part as an observer in a biopreparedness exercise with the Portuguese Army. The exercise took place at a coastal artillery battery outside Lisbon, and involved cases presenting with plague-like symptoms in local hospitals, the discovery of a clandestine biolab in a disused bunker, the taking of samples and their transfer to a biodefence lab for analysis. I co-authored a Working Paper submitted by Portugal to the BWC that describes the exercise in more detail.