Outreach

Media

16 May 2024 comments in Nature news article ‘US halts funding to controversial virus-hunting group: what researchers think.’

7 May 2024 comments in Nature news article ‘US funders to tighten oversight of controversial ‘gain-of-function’ research.’

26 Mar 2024 comments in Canadian CBC News article ‘In wake of Winnipeg lab scandal, scientists say Canada benefits from new, high-security pathogen lab.’

19 Mar 2024 comments in Canadian The Globe and Mail article ‘Infectious-disease scientist fired from Winnipeg laboratory surfaces in China.’

4 Mar 2024 King’s College London press release ‘King’s academic launches report to reduce pandemic threat posed by laboratories.’

3 Mar 2024 comments in Politico article ‘Assessing gain-of-function’s cost-benefit.’

28 Feb 2024 research featured in Science article ‘International panel calls for tighter oversight of risky pathogen studies.’

28 Feb 2024 comments in The Telegraph article ‘Covid pandemic may have been started by scientists, professor tells UN.’

19 Feb 2024 King’s College London press release ‘King’s expert leads advisory group set up to enhance global health security.’

6 Jan 2024 comments in The Telegraph article ‘Lab leaks and accidents up 50pc as fears grow dangerous viruses and bacteria could escape.’

4 Dec 2023 research features in The Times comment by William Hague ‘Blame games won’t help us with the next pandemic.’

17 Oct 2023 King’s College London press release ‘King’s expert helps drive safe innovation in engineering biology.’

20 Oct 2023 comments in MailOnline article ‘Britain’s secret biosecurity blunders revealed – including losing a GM mouse andan experiment gone wrong involving a smallpox-like virus.’

25 Sept 2023 research featured in The Guardian article ‘No 10 worried AI could be used to create advanced weapons that escape human control.’

6 July 2023 comments in The Telegraph article ‘Could AI chatbots be used to develop a bioweapon? You’d be surprised.’

30 June 2023 comments in Financial Times article ‘Billionaires want to save the world. What’s so wrong with that?

14 June 2023 research featured in Daily Mail article ‘Britain needs a new £1BILLION super-lab dedicated to stopping the next pandemic amid warnings that Porton Down is ‘crumbling’, MPs are told.’

1 May 2023 research featured in UAE’s The National article ‘Could fighting in Sudan result in a deadly lab leak?’

28 Apr 2023 comments in Vox article ‘Can a 50-year-old treaty still keep the world safe from the changing threat of bioweapons?’

26 Apr 2023 comments in BBC article ‘Sudan crisis: WHO warns of biological hazard at seized lab.’

22 Apr 2023 comments in The Telegraph article ‘Labs experimenting with deadly viruses risk 1.6m deaths every year, experts warn.’

21 Apr 2023 comments in Le Monde article ‘Trois ans après l’irruption du SARS-CoV-2, le boom des laboratoires biologiques de haute sécurité.’ English version

12 Apr 2023 research featured in The Washington Post article ‘China’s struggles with lab safety carry danger of another pandemic.’

10 Apr 2023 research featured in The Washington Post article ‘Research with exotic viruses risks a deadly outbreak, scientists warn.’

18 Mar 2023 comments in The Telegraph article ‘How British experiments risked making the Covid pandemic ‘more lethal’.

18 Mar 2023 comments in Vox article ‘The key to Covid’s origin lies in Bejing, not Wuhan.’

17 Mar 2023 comments in Science article ‘Growing number of high-security pathogen labs around world raises concerns.’

17 Mar 2023 comments in Newsweek article ‘Global biosafety fears grow amid rise in labs handling dangerous pathogens.’

17 Mar 2023 comments in The Times article ‘Rush to build high-security labs triggers pathogen escape fears.’

16 Mar 2023 comments in Evening Standard article ‘Scientists concerned boom in labs handling deadly germs not matched by regulation.’

16 Mar 2923 comments in Daily Mail article ‘Scientists concerned boom in labs handling deadly germs not matched by regulation.’

16 Mar 2023 comments in The Independent article ‘Scientists concerned boom in labs handling deadly germs not matched by regulation.’

16 Mar 2023 King’s College London press release ‘Boom in labs handling dangerous pathogens not matched by biosafety and biosecurity regulation.’

9 Mar 2023 comments in The Telegraph article ‘No 10 to consider Wuhan leak theory after backlash to ‘entirely coincidental’ remark.’

8 Mar 2023 comments in Bloomberg article ‘Covid lab leak fight obscures the global rise of high-security biolabs.’

8 Mar 2023 interviewed on The Economist Babbage podcast on ‘How genome editing will change humanity.’

6 Mar 2023 comments in The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists article ‘Can a 1975 bioweapons ban handle today’s biothreats?’

28 Feb 2023 comments in The New York Times article ‘We’ve been talking about the lab-leak hypothesis all wrong.’

27 Feb 2023 comments in The Guardian article ‘How seriously should we take the US DOE’s Covid lab leak theory?’

11 Feb 2023 research featured in The Observer article ‘Well, I never: AI is very proficient at designing nerve agents.’

22 Jan 2023 research featured in German Welt Am Sonntag article ‘Gift aus dem Rechner.’

19 Dec 2022 research features in The Economist article ‘The need for better safeguarding of bioscience.’

16 Dec 2022 quoted in The Times article ‘Russian research into prehistoric viruses sparks fears of new pandemic.’

9 Dec2022 research featured in Daily Mail article ‘World’s most dangerous labs RANKED’.

5 Dec 2022 comments in Coda article ‘The future home of the world’s most dangerous pathogens.’

2 Dec 2022 comments in Swiss Le Temps article ‘Armes biologiques, la peur d’une perte de contrôle’.

28 Nov 2022 comments in Bloomberg article ‘Russia’s Ukraine claims risk thwarting a global conference on bioweapons.’

7 Nov 2022 comments in French Le Monde article ‘Les “Frankenvirus” au coeur des débats, après l’émergence du Covid-19.’

1 Nov 2022 comments in Bloomberg article ‘How to move on from the debate over the origins of the pandemic.’

1 Nov 2022 comments in The Intercept article part 1 ‘Bent over in pain: student infected with debilitating virus in undisclosed biolab accident’, article part 2 ‘Unfrozen flu: Accident with 19818 pandemic virus raises questions about pathogen research’, and article part 3 ‘Lab that created risky avian flu had ‘Unacceptable” biosafety protocols’.

25 Oct 2022 comments in The Washington Post article ‘Russia seeks UN probe of claims on Ukraine biological labs.’

19 Oct 2022 comments in Science article ‘Making trouble: The US is moving to tighten oversight of studies that could make viruses more dangerous. But how far should it go?’

19 Oct 2022 comments in Vox article ‘Why do labs keep making dangerous viruses?’

12 Oct 2022 comments in Nature article ‘COVID prompts global surge in labs that handle dangerous pathogens.’

10 Oct 2022 interview on Pandemia: Die Welt. Die Viren. Und Wir. podcast ‘Waffen der Wissenschaft: Die Spur der Sporen.

22 Sept 2022 comments in French Le Figaro article ‘Armes biologiques: la guerre d’ “intox” de Moscou.’

11 Sept 2022 comments in The Observer article ‘Cloud labs and remote research aren’t the future of science – they’re here.’

4 Sept 2022 comments in The New York Times article ‘Russia’s unfounded claims of secret US bioweapons linger on and on.’

4 Sept 2022 comments in Swiss Le Temps article ‘A Genève, Moscou va à nouveau tenter d’accuser Washington de développer des armes biologiques en Ukraine.’

26 Aug 2022 interview on Lawfare podcast ‘A teachable moment for dual-use.’

19 Aug 2022 comments in Science article ‘Anywhere but here.’

19 July 2022 profiled in The Biologist interview ‘The experiments we’re doing today are riskier than they’ve ever been.’

2 July 2022 comments in The Intercept article ‘Infection of wildlife biologist highlights risks of virus hunting.’

13 June 2022 research featured in Nature article ‘Cloud labs: where robots do the research.’

11 June 2022 comments in South China Morning Post article ‘Covid-19 data points to animal origin but more studies needed to spot what and where: WHO advisers.’

9 June 2022 comments in The New York Times article ‘Mysteries linger about Covid’s origins, WHO report says.’

9 June 2022 comments in Science article ‘From ‘open minded’ to ‘underwhelming,’ mixed reactions greet latest COVID-19 origin report.’

7 June 2022 comments in Science|Business article ‘Life scientists have ‘little awareness’ of the risk that their research could create new pathogen threats.’

1 June 2022 research featured in Forbes article ‘AI ethics and legal AI experts greatly alarmed about dual-use AI which empowers so-called Doctor Evil projects, including possibly for AI self-driving cars.’

24 May 2022 research featured in German Deutsche Apotheker Zeitung article ‘Die KI und das Gift – ein Weckruf für die Forschergemeinde.’

17 May 2022 comments in Wired article ‘Widely available AI could have deadly consequences.’

10 May 2022 comments in Chemical & Engineering News article ‘A toxic twist on AI for drug design.’

3 May 2022 research featured in German Spektrum article ‘Chemiewaffen sind wieder eine globale Gefahr.’

27 April 2022 research featured in Lawfare blog article and Homeland Security News Wire article ‘Artificial Intelligence and Chemical and Biological weapons.’

23 April 2022 comments in Swedish Svenska Dagbladet article ‘Ryska anklagelserna kan spåras till gamla Sovjet.’

21 April 2022 comments in Scientific American article ‘AI drug discovery systems might be repurposed to make chemical weapons, researchers warn.’

14 April 2022 comments in BMJ article ‘Why the world has no universal biosafety standards’.

7 April 2022 research featured in Bloomberg article and The Washington Post article ‘Confronting AI’s potential to create new chemical weapons.’

6 April 2022 research featured in Ensia article ‘Nice things we can do now to protect the environment and reduce the risk of another pandemic.’

5 April 2022 research featured in Swiss Le Temps article ‘Des armes chimiques créées en tour de main.’

5 April 2022 research featured in Vox article ‘Why experts are terrified of a human-made pandemic–and what we can do to stop it.’

1 April 2022 research featured in Cosmos article ‘Heaven and hell’.

31 Mar 2022 research featured in Chemistry World article ‘Drug discovery AI that developed new nerve agents raises difficult questions.’

30 Mar 2022 research featured in Vox article ‘When scientific information is dangerous.’

30 Mar 2022 research featured in Los Angeles Times article ‘AI’s real potential for lethal toxicity.’

24 Mar 2022 comments in The Economist article ‘What makes biological weapons so dangerous, and does Russia have them?’

24 Mar 2022 research featured in Swiss Tages Anzeiger article ‘Diese künstliche Intelligenz findet chemische Kampfstoffe.’

24 Mar 2022 research featured in Science|Business article ‘How scientists can prevent an engineered pandemic.’

24 Mar 2022 King’s College London press release ‘Artificial intelligence could be repurposed to create new biochemical weapons.’

22 Mar 2022 research featured in The Japan Times article ‘Artificial intelligence gets scarier and scarier’.

22 Mar 2022 comments in Reuters article ‘Russia receives Western weather data that some fear could aide attack planning.’

21 Mar 2022 comments in The New York Times article ‘”He goes where the fire is”: A virus hunter in the Wuhan market.’

21 Mar 2022 research featured on Swiss SRF Echo der Zeit radio programme : ‘Software für die Entwicklung tödlicher Gifte.’

21 Mar 2022 research featured in Mail Online article ‘Artificial Intelligence created 40,000 of new lethal chemical weapon compounds six hours after being given the task by scientists.’

20 Mar 2022 comments in Newsweek article ‘Trump ally Roger Stone sides with Putin, claims Russia ‘acting defensively’.’

20 Mar 2022 interviewed on Swedish SVT programme ‘Så stoppas nästa pandemi’.

19 Mar 2022 research featured in The Economist article ‘How to tweak drug-design software to create chemical weapons.’

19 Mar 2022 comments in National Geographic article ‘The controversial quest to make a ‘contagious’ vaccine’.

18 Mar 2022 comments in Financial Times article ‘The dark side of using AI to design drugs.’

18 Mar 2022 comments in AP News article ‘Russia won’t ask UN council vote on its Ukraine resolution.’

18 Mar 2022 comments in National Geographic article ‘The controversial quest to make a ‘contagious’ vaccine.’

18 Mar 2022 research featured in Verve Times article ‘AI suggested 40,000 new possible chemical weapons in just six hours.’

16 Mar 2022 comments in Science article ‘”The Russians must know it’s a lie.” Ukrainian bat research spun into a false tale of bioweapons.’

15 Mar 2022 research featured in Science article ‘Deliberately optimizing for harm’.

15 Mar 2022 research featured in Tech Policy Press article ‘Researchers warn AI for drug discovery could make biochemical weapons.’

12 Mar 2022 comments in The Washington Post article ‘Russia’s bioweapon conspiracy theory finds support in US.’

12 Mar 2022 comments in Financial Times article ‘Military briefing: Fear of deployment of chemical weapons in Ukraine.’

11 Mar 2022 comments in BBC News article ‘Ukraine war: Fact-checking Russia’s biological weapons claims.’

11 Mar 2022 comments in The New York Times article ‘Theory about US_funded bioweapons labs in Ukraine is unfounded.’

11 Mar 2022 comments in Fortune article ‘Russia accused Ukraine of developing biological weapons in a wild conspiracy theory. It could take the war to a new level.’

11 Mar 2022 comments in The Washington Post article ‘How the right embraced Russian disinformation about “US bioweapons labs” in Ukraine.’

10 Mar 2022 comments in CNN article ‘Analysis: Russia and QAnon have the same false conspiracy theory about Ukraine.’

8 Mar 2022 comments in Newsweek article ‘US biological weapons in Ukraine–separating the facts from the fiction.’

3 Mar 2022 comments in The Intercept article ‘Emails point to oversight problems with NIH bat coronavirus grant.’

1 Mar 2022 comments in Science article ‘Spurred by pandemic, US government will revisit federal policies on risky virus research.’

2 Mar 2022 comments in AFP Fact Check article ‘Unproven claims of US-funded Ukraine bioweapons labs spread online.’

8 Feb 2022 research featured in The Bulletin article ‘Russian media spreading disinformation about US bioweapons as troops mass near Ukraine.’

24 Jan 2022 comments in Science article ‘Taiwan’s science academy fined for biosafety lapses after lab worker contracts Covid-19.’

20 Jan 2022 comments in The Intercept article ‘FBI sought documents related to US-funded coronavirus research in China.’

15 Jan 2022 comments in The Guardian article ‘No friendly politician is too obscure for insecure China.’

10 Jan 2022 research featured in Spanish Público article ‘Expertos alertan del gran riesgo de la vacunación de fauna silvestre en investigaciones para evitar pandemias.’

7 Jan 2022 comments in The Independent article ‘Scientists creating ‘risky’ self-spreading viruses in US and EU, paper warns.’

7 Jan 2022 comments in Times Higher Education article ‘Safeguards on laboratory-modified viruses ‘inadequate’.’

7 Jan 2022 interviewed on the Evening Standard’s Tech & Science Daily podcast on ‘Warning over scientists creating ‘risky’ self-spreading viruses.’

7 Jan 2022 research featured in National Geographic article ‘Impfungen, die sich wie ein Virus übertragen: Gefährlich oder die Zukunft?’

6 Jan 2022 comments in Gizmodo article ‘Self-spreading vaccine research could spin out of control, experts warn.’

6 Jan 2022 comments in ITV NEWS article ‘Scientists are creating ‘risky’ viruses in labs in US and EU, experts warn.’

6 Jan 2022 interviewed on BBC’s Science in Action podcast on ‘self-spreading vaccines.’

6 Jan 2022 interviewed on Science Magazine podcast on ‘regulating transmissible vaccines.’

6 Jan 2022 German Ministry of Environment press release ”Science’-Veröffentlichung: BFN warnt vor Abbau wissenschaftlicher Normwn in Teilbereichen der Gentechnik.’

6 Jan 2022 Max Planck Society press release ‘Vaccines for animals, based on viruses that spread on their own, are being developed in Europe and the US.’

6 Jan 2022 King’s College London press release ‘Greater controls are needed to tackle potential risks from lab-made ‘self-spreading’ viruses.’

6 Jan 2022 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) press release ‘Is risky research eroding norms over release of self-spreading viruses?’

4 Jan 2021 comments in Daily Mail article ‘Is lax security in labs putting us at risk of another pandemic?’

28 Dec 2021 comments in The Intercept article ‘The virus hunters: How the pursuit of unknown viruses risks triggering the next pandemic.’

16 Dec 2021 interviewed on Spanish TV Cuatro’s Horizone programme.

23 Nov 2021 comments in The New York Times Magazine article ‘You should be afraid of the next ‘lab leak’.’

17 Nov 2021 comments in Science article ‘Prophet in purgatory: EcoHealth Alliance’s Peter Daszak is fighting accusations that his pandemic prevention work helped spark Covid-19.’

11 Nov 2021 comments in Neo.Life article ‘The real danger of a biological cold war with China.’

1 Nov 2021 comments in The Telegraph article ‘WHO seeks more laboratory safety experts for pandemic origins inquiry.’

27 Oct 2021 King’s College London press release ‘Project aimed at improving safety in labs dealing with lethal viruses recieves major funding grant.’

23 Oct 2021 interviewed in Italian Rai3 Presa diretta documentary ‘Il virus perfetto.’

22 Oct 2021 comments in BMJ article ‘Covid-19: New WHO group to look into pandemic origins is dogged by alleged conflicts of interest.’

21 Oct 2021 comments in Newsweek article ‘Scientists react as NIH head Francis Collins calls Wuhan lab leak theories ‘misinformation’.’

18 Oct 2021 comments in Science article ‘Fights over confidentiality pledge and conflicts of interests tore apart COVID19 origin probe.’

17 Oct 2021 interviewed on BBC Radio’s The Naked Scientists programme.

17 Oct 2021 comments in The Mail on Sunday article ‘Third of WHO’s team members investigating Covid’s origins have conflict of interest due to research links or old statements.’

3 Oct 2021 interviewed in Radio-Canada Découverte documentary Part 2 ‘Les origines de la Covid-19’.

27 Sept 2021 comments in Financial Times article ‘Controversial virus research sparks political debate in US.’

26 Sept 2021 interviewed in Radio-Canada Découverte documentary Part 1 ‘Les origines de la Covid-19’.

25 Sept 2021 comments in The Telegraph article ‘Apocalypse now? Britain’s race against time to fight off multiple ‘Black Swan’ events.’

21 Sept 2021 comments in Financial Times article ‘Bioterror: The dangers of garage scientists manipulating DNA.’

17 Sept 2021 comments in The Times article ‘Safety breaches investigated at the UK labs that deal with deadly viruses.’

3 Sept 2021 King’s College London press release ‘Call for strengthening controls on biological weapons through international treaty.’

31 Aug 2021 comments in Financial Times article ‘Bio-weapons experts call for tighter controls as Covid highlights risk’.

27 Aug 2021 research featured in The Guardian article ‘The US report into Covid’s origins is little use in averting another pandemic’.

25 Aug 2021 comments in Norwegian TV2 News article ‘Nå kommer koronarapporten–innholdet setter diplomatiet på prøve’.

22 Aug 2021 interviewed in Channel 4 documentary ‘Did Covid leak from a lab in China?’.

13 Aug 2021 comments in The Telegraph article ‘Hunt for the ‘smoking bat’ and how Wuhan lab leak theory shifted from conspiracy to credible’.

9 August 2021 research featured in Swiss Tages-Anzeiger interview ‘Wenn Viren aus dem Labor ausbrechen’.

24 July 2021 featured interview in Spanish La Vanguardia interview ‘La capacidad para desarrollar armas biológicas crecerá tras la pandemia’.

12 July 2021 featured interview in Le Monde interview ‘Il est indispensable de contrôler ce qui se passe dans les laboratoires de haute sécurité’.

10 July 2021 comments in Swedish Svenska Dagbladet article ‘Här lagras världens dödligaste virus’.

8 July 2021 comments in BMJ article ‘The covid-19 lab leak hypothesis: Did the media fall victim to a misinformation campaign?’

1 July 2021 comments in Scientific American article ‘Artificial proteins never seen in the natural world are becoming new COVID vaccines and medicines’.

30 June 2021 research featured in Italian La Repubblica article ‘Dopo Wuhan i duppi sui laboratori di massima biosicurezza: solo un quarto risponde ai requisiti’.

29 June 2021 comments in MIT Technology Review article ‘Inside the risky bat-virus engineering that links America to Wuhan’.

21 June 2021 research featured in The Daily Mail  article ‘Three-quarters of the world’s 59 labs that handle deadly pathogens recieve poor scores for biosafety and security, report finds’.

20 June 2021 research featured in Spanish El Mundo article ‘La amenaza oculta de los laboratorios que custodian los virus más peligrosos para la humanidad’.

19 June 2021 comments in Business Insider article ‘Only a quarter of the 59 lbas that handle the world’s deadliest pathogens have top-level biosecurity, experts warn. They fear lax rules could lead to another pandemic.’

18 June 2021 comments in Australian Financial Review article ‘Conspiracy, cover-up or distraction: the lab leak theory is back’.

18 June 2021 comments in The Guardian article ‘In hunt for Covid’s origin, new studies point away from lab leak theory’.

12 June 2021 comments in Greek EPT News article ‘Εργαστήριο Γουχάν: Ειδικοί καταγγέλλουν μη τήρηση των επιπέδων ασφάλειας στην έρευνα του ertnews.gr’

11 June 2021 featured interview in The Wall Street Journal‘s Weekend Interview ‘A scientist who said no to Covid groupthink’.

9 June 2021 interviewed on BBC2 Newsnight. Repeated on BBC World News on 11 and 12 June 2021. 

8 June 2021 research featured in The American Spectator article ‘Laboratories like the Wuhan Institute of Virology are on the rise’.

5 June 2021 interviewed on BBC World Service for its ‘Newshour’ programme.

4 June 2021 comments in Financial Times article ‘Scientists fear future leaks as top-level labs proliferate.’

3 June 2021 comments in Vanity Fair article ‘The Lab-leak theory: Inside the fight to uncover Covid-19’s origins’.

31 May 2021 comments in The Independent article ‘Scientific community divided over Wuhan lab leak theories’.

30 May 2021 comments in Swedish Svenska Dagbladet article ‘Brittiska spioner: Möjligt med virusläcka från labb’.

29 May 2021 comments in The Economist article ‘Assessing the theory that covid-19 leaked from a Chinese lab’.

28 May 2021 comments in Popular Science article ‘Regardless of Covid-19’s origins, experts say it’s time to tighten up biosecurity lab protocols’.

28 May 2021 comments in The Sun article ‘Paying with fire: World’s most dangerous biolabs studying diseases with no cure revealed amid fear virus deadlier than Covid could leak’.

28 May 2021 comments in Swedish Svenska Dagbladet article ‘Risk för virusläckor vid labben: “Öka skyddet”’. 27 May 2021 interviewed on the BBC News at Ten.

27 May 2021 comments in The New York Times article ‘Scientists don’t want to ignore the ‘Lab Leak’ theory, despite no new evidence.

26 May 2021 comments in The Washington Post article ‘The international community could flip the script on China’s lab investigation.’

24 May 2021 comments in Swedish Svenska Dagbladet article ‘Kan ha varit första klustret av viruset.’

18 May 2021 comments in The Bulletin article on ‘Disinformation Watch: How a Bulletin story about self-spreading vaccines was used in anti-vaxxer propaganda.’

5 May 2021 comments in Swedish Svenska Dagbladet article ‘Kväste teori om labbläcka — extremt egenintresse.’

25 Apr 2021 comments in The Mail on Sunday article ‘Worrying new clues about the origins of Covid: How scientists at Wuhan lab helped Chinese army in secret project to find animal viruses.’

14 Apr 2021 interviewed on The Economist Babbage podcast on ‘Origin story-where did SARS-CoV-2 come from?’

13 Apr 2021 comments in French Le Point article ‘Appel à une enquête complète sur les origines du Covid-19.’

12 Apr 2021 comments in Danish Zetland article ‘En dansker stod i spidsen, da 17 eksperter rejste til Wuhan for at finde pandeiens begyndelse.’

10 Apr 2021 comments in Swedish Svenska Dagbladet article ‘Gåtan i Wuhan: Kan viruset spåras till labbet?’

10 Apr 2021 comments in South China Morning Post article ‘Coronavirus origins: how unseen Wuhan research notes could hold the answers – and why lab-leak rumours refuse to die’

7 Apr 2021 Open Letter calling for a full investigation into the origins of Covid-19 published in The New York Times

2 Apr 2021 comments in Danish Zetland article ‘En rapport fra serumsinstituttet siger, corona kan komme fra et laboratorium.’

1 Apr 2021 comments in Nature News article ‘What’s next in the search for Covid’s origins’

31 Mar 2021 comments in France 24 article ‘La pandémie de Covid-19 et ses origines, une histoire à tiroirs’

31 Mar 2021 interviewed on Canadian CBC News Front Burner podcast ‘How, exactly did Covid-19 begin?’

29 Mar 2021 interviewed in Italian Rai3 Presa diretta documentary ‘Sars-Cov-2 anatomia di un Complotto’.

26 Mar 2021 comments in Danish Zetland article ‘Slap corona ud fra et laboratorium? Det er for tidlig at afvise tidens mest kontroversielle teori.’

25 Mar 2021 comments in Newsweek article ‘Humans, not animals, likely took the Covid virus to Wuhan, contrary to China’s claims.’

19 Mar 2021 comments in Irish RTÉ article into ‘The origins of Covid-19: Bats, lab leak or frozen food?’

18 Mar 2021 interviewed on Irish RTÉ Prime Time investigation into ‘The origins of Covid-19: Bats, lab leak or frozen food?’

13 Mar 2021 interviewed on N1 Bosnia & Herzegovina.

11 Mar 2021 comments in The Washington Post article ‘The world still hasn’t figures out how to regulate research into deadly viruses.’

11 Mar 2021 interviewed on NBC Nightly News.

6 Mar 2021 referred to in Financial Times article ‘Laboratory viruses pose ‘existential threat’, warns bioweapons expert.’

5 Mar 2021 comments in Radio Free Asia article ‘Open letter from scientists from many countries question virus investigation.’

4 Mar 2021 comments in The New York Times article ‘Some scientists question WHO inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic’s origins.’

4 Mar 2021 Open Letter calling for a full and unrestricted international forensic investigation into the pandemic origins published in the The Wall Street Journal and Le Monde

14 Feb 2021 comments in The Mail on Sunday article ‘World experts condemn official probe as ‘a charade.’

13 Feb 2021 comments in Wired article ‘We need a global outbreak investigation team–now.’

11 Feb 2021 comments in Politico’s Global Pulse article ‘Will we ever know the truth about Covid’s origin?’

6 Feb 2021 referred to in The Telegraph article ‘Did the Covid-19 virus really escape from a Wuhan lab?’

27 Jan 2021 comments in Forbes article ‘IARPA’s bioweapons detection tools have difficulty finding what they’re not looking for.’

26 Jan 2021 interviewed on NBC Nightly News.

15 Jan 2021 comments in The Wall Street Journal article ‘The world needs a real investigation into the origins of Covid-19.’

26 Dec 2020 comments in Chilean La Tercera article ‘Vacunas: El desafío logístico y de seguridad tras su distribusión.’

21 Dec 2020 comments in Chilean La Tercera article ‘Reino Unido y la nueva cepa del Covid-19: ¿Es realmente “el enfermo” de Europa?.’

20 November 2020 comments in Inter Press Service (IPS) news article on ‘A potential weapon kills over 1.5 million worldwide – without a single shot being fired.’

16 October 2020 King’s College London press release “Act now to control emerging biological threats, Dr Filippa Lentzos tells United Nations General Assembly.”

19 September 2020 interviewed on Ukraine TV network ZIK documentary ‘American biolabs in Ukraine.’

5 August 2020 comments in OneZero article ‘How do we know if a virus is bioengineered?’

18 July 2020 comments in Spanish La Vanguardia article ‘Los centros secretos de la biotechnología.’

9 June 2020 comments in Tortoise article ‘The Wuhan Lab: How America fuelled a conspiracy theory.’

27 May 2020 comments in Der Spiegel article ‘Wie sicher ist die Virenforschung?’

20 May 2020 interviewed on Swiss SRF1 radio for its ‘Echo der Zeit’ program.

19 May 2020 comments in The Intercept article ‘In its zeal to blame China for coronavirus, the Trump administration is thwarting investigations into the pandemic’s origins’

19 May 2020 comments in Chilean La Tercera article ‘OMS promete investigatción independiente sobre el coronavirus y Trump la acusa de ser ‘marioneta de China.’

11 May 2020 interviewed on Deutsche Welle news report COVID-19 Special.

11 May 2020 interviewed on Channel 4 video Explained: What is the Wuhan lab coronavirus theory?

8 May 2020 interviewed on Swedish Sveriges Radio 1 Propagandakriget

8 May 2020 interviewed on RTV Slovenia.

4 May 2020 interviewed on Channel 4 News.

30 April 2020 comments in The Economist article on ‘The pieces of the puzzle of covid-19’s origin are coming to light.’

28 April 2020 comments in South China Morning Post article on ‘Wuhan lab coronavirus conspiracy theories shine spotlight on super-secure facilities.’

22 April 2020 interviewed on NBC Nightly News.

22 April 2020 featured in The Australian article on ‘Biological warfare worst-case scenario.’

21 April 2020 comments in South China Morning Post article on ‘Coronavirus: The Wuhan lab conspiracy theory that will not go away.’

21 April 2020 comments in Voice of America article on ‘Chinese lab with checkered safety record draws scrutiny over covid-19.’

17 April 2020 comments in Agence France-Presse article on ‘The Wuhan lab at the core of a virus controversy.’

17 April 2020 comments in Portuguese Publico article on ‘EUA estudam hipótese de fuga acidental do vírus de um laboratório em Wuhan’

17 April 2020 interviewed on Sky News.

16 April 2020 comments in BBC News article on ‘Coronavirus: Is there any evidence for lab release theory?’

20 March 2020 comments in Inter Press Service (IPS) news article on ‘Could the Coronavirus be a biological weapon in the not-too-distant future?’

19 March 2020 comments in The Bulletin article on ‘Hot zone in the heartland?’

18 March 2020 comments in The New Yorker article on ‘The risks of building too many bio labs.’

13 March 2020 comments in The Bulletin article on ‘Why do politicians keep breathing life into the false conspiracy theory that the coronavirus is a bioweapon?’

7 February 2020 interview on Swedish Sveriges Radio P3 programme Dystopia on ‘Coronavirus 2019-nCoV’

30 January 2020  comments in The Bulletin article on ‘Fake news epidemic: Coronoavirus breeds hate and disinformation in India and beyond.’

17 January 2020 interview on the Geneva Centre for Security Policy podcast series on international peace and security.

January 2020 comments in Friends of Europe’s 2019 Debating Security Plus report on the changing nature of warfare and its implications for global thinking on peace, security and defence.

21 December 2019 comments in The Mercury News article on ‘Lethal flu strains, dirty radiation bombs-can humans survive? Bay Area scientists search for key to make us more resistant to killer viruses and radiation’

4 December 2019 interviewed on German, Austrian and Swiss 3sat documentary ‘Gentechnik: Insekten als Viren-Taxi’ (from 4:06 min)

3 December 2019 comments in Norwegian Klassekampen article on ‘Biovåpen – en taus trussel’

19 September 2019 comments in The Telegraph article on ‘Russian lab blast: smallpox facility passed WHO biosecurity inspection in January’

15 September 2019 interviewed for ABC Science Friction programme “From bioterror to bioterror – should we worry about synthetic biology? Podcast Part 1Podcast Part 2

27 March 2019 featured on Swedish Sveriges Radio P3 programme Dystopia ‘Det levande vapnet’

15 March 2019 research featured in Deutsche Welle article on ‘Sind Killerroboter & Co. noch kontrollierbar?’

15 March 2019 featured in Heute Journal on German TV ZDF news coverage (from 12:39 min)

15 March 2019 featured in Russian Deutsche Welle news coverage (from 2:20 min)

15 March 2019 research featured in Army Technology article ‘Digital disruption poses risk to biological weapons control’

14 Nov 2018 interviewed on key Georgian television channels including Rustavi 2 and Imedi TV

4 Oct 2018 comments in The Atlantic article ‘A controversial virus study reveals a critical flaw in how science is done’

19 June 2018 comments in MIT Technology Review article ‘US military wants to know what synthetic-biology weapons could look like’

31 May 2018 comments in Vox article ‘A genetically modified organism could end malaria and save millions of lives — if we decide to use it’

8 March 2018 comments in Finnish Aamulehti article on Skripal poisoning

8 March 2018 comments in local Finnish Turun Sanomat article on Skripal poisoning 

19 Jan 2018 comments in Der Spiegel article ‘Warum Forscher künstliche Monsterviren erschaffen.’

December 2017 comments in Der Spiegel Wissen article on ‘Pandoras Petrischale’

11 Dec 2017 comments in Spektrum der Wissenschaft (German edition of ‘Scientific American’) article on ‘Eine Waffe gegen Malaria’

3 Nov 2017 research featured in Italian La Repubblica article

2 Nov 2017 comments in Sputnik News article on ‘How Russia is helping others prevent epidemics and bioweapon attacks’

17 Sept 2017 comments in International Business Times article on ‘Terrorists, rogue nations could easily access dangerous biological research’

15 Sept 2017 comments in New Scientist article on ‘It’s too easy for bioterrorists to access dangerous research’

1 Sept 2017 comments in The Irish Times article on ‘What’s that crawling out of the lab?’

20 April 2017 comments in Newsweek article on ‘Bioterror attack could kill millions, warns Bill Gates’

25 February 2017 featured in local Norwegian Lister article titled ‘Forsker på bruk av biologi som våpen’

20 February 2017 interviewed in German Federal Ministry of Defense journal Wehrmedizinische Monatsschrift in a special issue on ‘Herausforderung ‘Biosicherheit & Gesundheitsschutz’

9 Sept 2016 interviewed in German journal Management & Krankenhaus in an article titled ‘Biologische Bedrohung: Dual-Use-Potential von Infektionserregern’

28 June 2016 featured on BBC4 documentary ‘Inside Porton Down: Britain’s Secret Weapons Research Facility’

24 June 2016 featured in The Telegraph as ‘STEM career hero of the month

17 March 2016 comments in The Metro article ‘Rat race to find a sixth sense.’

16 March 2016 comments in New Scientist article on dual use neuroscience.

13 March 2016 interviewed on BBC World Service’s The Science Hour

11 March 2016 comments in International Business Times article ‘Banned research on deadly diseases MERS, bird flu and SARS could be making a comeback.’

10 March 2016 interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Inside Science programme.

9 March 2016 comments in The Guardian article ‘Ban on most hazardous virus experiments could be lifted after meeting this week.’

6 March 2016 interviewed on The Naked Scientists podcast on engineering super flu.

6 March 2016 interview on BBC Radio Cambridge’s The Naked Scientists A-Zika of viruses: Preventing pandemics; repeated on Radio National ABC Australia 11 March 2016 and Radio 5 live on 12 March 2016.

March 2016 comments in Defence Procurement International feature on Biology As A Weapon.

28 January 2016 interviewed in the Evening Standard speaking about career paths for women in science, technology, engineering & mathematics (STEM).

12 January 2016 featured in The Guardian 2016 postgrad supplement.

3 September 2015 comments in Daily Star article ‘Black Death is back: Global outbreak of the Plague could hit Britain’

21 May 2015 Nature correspondence on the need for robust, broad and deep public engagement with policy on mutational technologies like gene editing and gain-of-function.

26 April 2015 authored The Guardian commentary ‘Can we trust scientists’ self-control?’.

21 February 2015 comments in The Guardian article ‘Top-secret military warning on Ebola biological weapon terror threat’.

12 January 2015 interviewed on The Guardian’s Science Weekly podcast about the security risks of synthetic biology.

9 December 2014 interview on Wilton Park podcast about the science, opportunities and risk of synthetic biology.

30 November 2014  interview on Radio New Zealand about biological weapons and the Biological Weapons Convention:

21 March 2014 comments in Wired article ‘Information poses bigger bioterrorism threat than microbes’

Videos

Podcasts

From bioterror to bioterror – should we worry about synthetic biology?
Listen to Part 1; Listen to Part 2

Talks & Keynotes

Recent invitations to present my work include:

  • A workshop on ‘Regulating defense and security AI technologies: Options beyond traditional arms control’ hosted by CIFAR and UNIDIR, 30-31 January 2020, Santa Monica
  • Remote presentation to workshop on ‘Advances in S&T and challenges for WMD-related treaties’ hosted by UNIDIR, 24 January 2020, Geneva
  • Remote presentation to workshop on Russian-EU biosecurity cooperation hosted by the St Petersburg State University, 16-17 December 2019, St Petersburg
  • A panel discussion on ‘Assistane, response and preparedness in a deliberate biological event’ hosted by UNODA, Japan and GCSP, 19 November 2019, Geneva
  • A video contribution to Debating Security Plus’ online public consultation on ‘Hybrid Warfare and biological agents: Biothreats and bioterrorism’, October 2019
  • A keynote on ‘Future biological weapons threats’ at CBRNe protection symposium hosted by the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI), 24-26 September 2019, Malmö
  • A panel discussion on ‘Compliance and enforcement: Lessons learned from across WMD treaties’ hoted by UNIDIR, 18 September 2019, Geneva
  • Keynote at biosecurity conference hosted by the US State Department, 10-12 September, Kuala Lumpur
  • Technical briefing to Health Security Interface technical advisory group (HSI-TAG) hosted by the WHO, 3-6 September 2019, Vancouver
  • A workshop on near-term releases of GM viruses into the environment hosted by Max Planck Society, 1 August 2019, Geneva
  • A workshop on ‘Regulating defense and security AI technologies: Options beyond traditional arms control’ hosted by CIFAR and UNIDIR, 15-16 July 2019, Toronto
  • A workshop on security and emerging synthetic biology threats sponsored by NATO’s science for peace and security programme and hosted by EPFL, 7-10 July 2019, Lausanne
  • A conference on ‘risk’ hosted by Leopoldina, 4-6 July 2019, Berlin
  • A panel discussion on ‘strategy and bioengineering’ hosted by the Austrian National Defence Academy, 26 June 2019, Vienna
  • A lecture at the ‘Geopolitics and global futures’ symposium hoted by the GCSP, 13 June, Geneva
  • A workshop on ‘Managing future security: Prospects for transatlantic cooperation’ hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations with the European Union Institute for Security Studies, 7-8 June 2019, Paris
  • A panel discussion on ‘Computer-generated genome: The first step to artificial life?’, ETH, 27 May 2019, Zürich
  • A workshop on ‘CBW and the public sphere’ hosted by the Universities of Kent, UCL and Sussex and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, 1-3 May 2019, Canterbury
  • A conference on ‘Capturing technology. Rethinking arms control’ hosted by the German Federal Foreign Office, 14 March 2019, Berlin
  • A workshop on ‘The intersection of machine learning and genetic engineering: What should be our check list for society and state as we blast off?’ hosted by Ditchley Park, 7-9 Feb 2019, Ditchley Park
  • A conference on ‘Global forum on scientific advances important to the BWC’ hosted by Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, 3 Dec 2018, United Nations, Geneva
  • A workshop on ‘Powerful actors, high impact bio-threats’ hosted by Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, NTI, and Future of Humanity Institute Oxford, 7-9 Nov 2018, Wilton Park
  • A workshop on Russian-EU biosecurity cooperation hosted by the St Petersburg State University, 1-2 Nov 2018, St Petersburg
  • A workshop on ‘Responsible innovation and building interdisciplinary teams’ hosted by Google DeepMind, 23 October 2018, London
  • A workshop on ‘New technology as a hurdle to, and an enabler, of verification in arms control’ hosted by the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF), 21-22 Sept 2018, Frankfurt
  • A panel discussion on ‘Bio plus X’ at the Stockholm Security Conference ‘Emerging technologies’, hosted by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), 19-20 Sept 2018, Stockholm
  • A keynote at ‘Convergence’ conference, hosted by the Swiss Ministry of Defence, 11-14 Sept 2018, Spiez
  • A panel discussion at the Geneva Dialogue on the Secretary-General’s Agenda for Disarmament, hosted by United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) 27 June 2018, Geneva
  • A  keynote at synthetic biology summer school,  25 June 2018, Oxford
  • A workshop on ‘Governance of research in the life science with dual use potential’ hosted by the InterAcademy Partnership, 11-13 June 2018, Zagreb
  • A keynote on ‘The threat of manufactured disease’ at NBC 2018 symposium on CBRNE threats, 4-7 June 2018, Rovaniemi
  • A policy seminar on the Human Brain Project and dual use, 22 March 2018, Brussels
  • A workshop on arms control and S&T developments, hosted by Article 36 , 8-9 March 2018, Berkshire
  • A panel discussion on ‘Working methods in disarmament diplomacy (part 1): Consensus’, hosted by the Geneva Disarmament Platform, 30 Nov 2017, Geneva Agenda
  • A keynote on ‘21st century biological threats’, Alfried Krupp Wissenschaftskolleg, 2 Nov 2017, Greifswald Programme
  • A keynote at conference on ‘Global biosecurity challenges: Problems and solutions,’ organised by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Russian Health Protection Agency, 1 Nov 2017, Sochi Programme
  • A workshop on ‘Assessing the security implications of genome editing technology,’ hosted by the Volkswagen Stiftung and National Academies of Sciences, 12 Oct 2017, Hannover Programme and workshop report
  • A lecture on ‘The dual use dilemma in the life sciences’ at ETH, 27 Sept 2017, Zürich
  • A remote keynote on ‘Synthetic biology and biosecurity’ to the EUSynBioS symposium, 1 Sept 2017, Madrid
  • A keynote on ‘Biological threats in the 21st century’ at the Congress of Microbiology, hosted by Tehran University of Medical Sciences, 30 Aug 2017, Tehran
  • A lecture on the BWC and biological research hosted by the Razi Institute, 28 Aug 2017, Tehran
  • A panel discussion on ‘Dangerous experiments, lab safety failures: Is our coverage meeting the challenges?’ at the European Conference for Science Journalists, 29 June 2017, Copenhagen
  • A panel discussion on ‘Medicine & strategy’ at the Austrian National Defence Academy, 28 June 2017, Vienna
  • A lecture on ’21st Century biological threats’ hosted by the European Centre for Disease Control, 31 May 2017, Stockholm
  • A lecture on ‘Future biological threats’ at the Portuguese Ministry of Defence Land Command, 19 May 2017, Lisbon
  • A keynote to the Mindtheapp symposium at the Vienna Biocenter, 3-4 Nov 2016, Vienna
  • A workshop on forecasting and the politics of prediction hosted by the Center for Security Studies, ETH , 26-27 Aug 2016, Zürich
  • A workshop on the absence of expected technological threats hosted by the Center for Global Security, 6-8 July 2016, Lawrence Livermore National Lab
  • A panel discussion on converging technologies and emerging risks in the biological sciences hosted by the Austrian National Defence Academy, 19-20 May 2016, Vienna
  • A keynote to the Medical Biodefense Conference organized by the Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology, 26-29 April 2016, Munich
  • A workshop on secrecy and intelligence, North Carolina State University, 18-19 April 2016, Raleigh, North Carolina
  • A workshop on dual use and the Human Brain Project hosted by the European Institute for Theoretical Neuroscience, 10-11 March 2016, Paris
  • A symposium on the 90th anniversary of the Geneva Protocol hosted by the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) and the Permanent Mission of France to the Conference on Disarmament, 15 Dec 2015, Palais des Nations, Geneva Agenda and Audio Recording
  • A workshop hosted by King’s and the Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Fellowship, 4-5 Aug 2015, Defense Academy of the United Kingdom in Shrivenham
  • A workshop hosted by the NATO Partnership for Peace, 28-30 April 2015, Alexandru Cel Bun Military Academy in Chisinau, Moldova
  • A lecture hosted by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), 18 Feb 2015, Heidelberg Video Recording
  • A workshop  jointly hosted by the Polish Ministry of Science and the British Embassy, 25 Nov 2014, Warsaw Workshop Programme
  • A panel discussion on “Primum non nocere: Why engineer microbes to be more dangerous to humankind” at the European Centre for Disease Control’s annual ESCAIDE conference, 6 Nov 2014, Stockholm Tweets are at #ESCAIDE_DURC #ESCAIDE
  • A workshop on compliance issues with the Biological Weapons Convention, on 24-26 Sept 2014, Wilton Park
  • A panel discussion on ‘Bioterrorim: The threat of dual-use technologies’ hosted by Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, 21 March 2014, London Audio and Video Recordings Wired magazine covered the event with a feature titled ‘Information poses bigger bioterrorism threat than microbes.’
  • A panel discussion at the EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Conference,  30 Sept – 1 Oct 2013, Brussels Transcript and Audio Recording

Workshops & Public Events

Public Event: Panel Discussion

Genetically modified self-spreading viruses represent a new frontier in how we might harness biology and engineering to advance animal and human health. It also represents a frontier being explored by social scientists to understand potential impacts of these technologies on society, and vice versa. In an online panel discussion, I and other social scientists explored the potential for shifts in norms to limit the release of GM viruses into the environment from different perspectives including: security, ethics, responsible research and innovation, public engagement and international law.

The  panel discussion on self-spreading vaccines was organized by Science magazine and formed part of the Euroscience Open Forum from 2-6 September 2020. A short article on key security issues of self-spreading vaccines.

Publkic Event: Panel Discussion

Could we live in a world where vaccines are contagious? Could the military release insects to spread designer viruses to crops? Could your orange juice come from trees genetically modified to protect them from disease?

These were the questions that focused our discussions at a lunchtime event I chaired on 2 August 2019 for BWC Meeting of Expert delegates at the United Nations in Geneva.  To support the discussion, the Max Planck Society developed a short animation on Insect Allies, a military program to use insects to spread designer viruses to crops.

The panel consisted of geneticist Guy Reeves (Max Planck Institute for Evoluntionary Biology, Germany), retired Air Vice Marshall Manmohan Bahadur (Centre for Air Power Studies, India), virologist Polly Roy (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK), plant virologist Tatjana Kleinow (University of Stuttgart, Germany), legal scholar Alex Phelan (Georgetown University, USA), and bioethicist Nick Evans (University of Massachusetts Lowell, USA). The event was funded by the Max Planck Society. 

In the evening, we repeated the event at the SDG Solution Space to reach a wider segment of the public.

Public Event: Launch of Policy Brief Series

On 16 August 2018, I launched the policy briefs series Revisiting BWC Verification at a side event to the BWC Meetings of Experts at the United Nations, Geneva. The policy brief series was co-authored with Jez Littlewood and Jamie Revill, and funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The launch was introduced by Hana Cervenka, First Secretary at the Norwegian Mission in Geneva.

Public Event: Film Screening and Panel Discussion

On 8 November 2016, I joined forces with the award-winning producer and director Tim Usborne, the head of the chemical, biological and radiological science division at Dstl, Porton Down, Simon Earwicker, and the UK Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, Matt Rowland, to screen the BBC4 documentary Inside Porton Down to BWC Review Conference delegates at the United Nations, Geneva.

The film screening was followed by a panel discussion and Q&A with the audience in which we explored the motivation behind the film and the process of making it, focusing particularly on challenges of balancing national security and transparency. We also discussed the age old conundrum of developing defensive capability through limited weaponisation of biology, and how descisions are made on where the line between permitted and non-permitted actvities lies.

The aim of the screening and discussion was to provide a different, and engaging, way to learn about the history of biological weapons development and current biodefence efforts. The event also provided a more public way to demonstrate transparency of a national biodefence programme than the more formal mechanisms usually employed within the BWC.

Public Event: Launch of Biological Threats in the 21st Century

Biological Threats in the 21st Century was launched with a series of author panel discussions held in Washington DC on 14 October 2016, Geneva on 9 November 2016, and London on 17 November 2016. The series was kicked off with a keynote address by Andrew C. Weber, former Deputy Coordinator for Ebola Response at the US Department of State and former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs.

Photos

Workshops on “Building a Global Civil Society Coalition to Strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention”

On 10-11 December 2015 I jointly organised a workshop in Geneva with Chatham House, International Law & Policy Institute (ILPI), and Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP). The meeting brought together around 30 participants from a wide variety of civil society organisations, research institutions, international organisations and a selected group of states.

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Funded by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the workshop was primarily a policy-focused meeting aimed at initiating discussions on (1) the potential for an enhanced role and contribution of civil society organizations to the 2016 Eighth Review Conference and to the BWC more generally, and (2) ways in which civil society actors can collectively organise more effectively to maximise their contributions and advance a shared agenda. Workshop Report

We convened a follow-up workshop on 28 June 2016 in Geneva that brought together a smaller group to discuss concrete preparations for the 2016 BWC Review Conference.

Public Event: “The Threat of Manufactured Disease”

The rapid pace of advances in the life sciences mean they must continually be evaluated and assessed to ensure appropriate oversight is in place. One area of life science research that has gained a great deal of attention recently is ‘gain-of-function’ research, which makes certain viruses more transmissible or deadly. This public event, held on the margins of the Biological Weapons Convention Meeting of States Parties on 1 December 2014 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, considered the science and risks of gain-of-function research.

Prof Simon Wain-Hobson of the Pasteur Institute and Prof Marc Lipsitch of the Harvard School of Public Health gave presentations on how the international community can: (1) identify the risks of gain-of-function work; and (2) develop appropriate oversight mechanisms.

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Biological Weapons Convention member states were encouraged to endorse the 17 October 2014 US moratorium on gain-of-function research and to carry out comprehensive risk assessments to quantify the risks of release of gain-of-function viruses into the community in terms of loss of human life, costs to health care systems, financial and socio-economic costs, and liability costs. States pursuing gain-of-function research have an extra responsibility. They must ensure their national arrangements for gain-of-function oversight take its implications for the Convention fully into account and document their oversight arrangements in the annual CBM returns on Form E. Any gain-of-function work carried out as part of national biodefence R&D should be specifically identified and outlined in CBM Form A. CBM declarations on gain-of-function will signal a commitment to responsible innovation and promote confidence in others that appropriate oversight mechanisms are in place.

An audio podcast is available here:

Workshop on “Confidence & Compliance with the Biological Weapons Convention”

On 3 August 2014 I jointly organised a workshop in Geneva with the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP). The meeting brought together approximately 30 participants including diplomats, national experts, staff from international organisations and academics. Funded by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the workshop was held in advance of the week-long meeting of the 170 states party to the Biological Weapons Convention and focused on three principal issues: (1) the extent to which the BWC is verifiable; (2) whether confidence building measures build confidence, and (3) what a legally-binding mechanism might look like today. Workshop Report Tweets are at #BWCMX

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Workshop on “Synthetic Biology & Biosecurity”

I organised this workshop at King’s College London on 28 February 2014 together with my colleagues Catherine Jefferson & Claire Marris. The meeting brought together two dozen synthetic biologists, social scientists, policy experts and science journalists to explore the extent to which concerns about the misuse of synthetic biology for biowarfare or bioterrorism are realistic or exaggerated in the light of current scientific realities. Workshop Report  Tweets are at #synbiosec

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Workshop series on the BWC Confidence Building Measures

In 2009-2010, I organized a series of three workshops in collaboration with the Geneva Forum and the Governments of Switzerland, Norway and Germany. The first of these was held in Jongny-sur-Vevey on 22-23 August 2009; the second in Geneva on 12 December 2009; and the third in Berlin on 26-27 April 2010. Drawing on diplomats, national experts, staff from international organisations, civil society and academia, these workshops brought together a range of viewpoints on: (1) the objectives of the CBM mechanism and the extent to which these have been achieved in practice; (2) the CBMs in relation to other compliance assessment mechanisms; (3) the format and content of the existing CBM forms, and (4) the effectiveness of the CBM collation and submission process. A report of the workshop series – Preparing for a Comprehensive Review of the CBM Mechanism at the Seventh BWC Review Conference – is available.

Public Event: “Creating the organisms that evolution forgot?” An ‘Any Questions?’ debate on synthetic biology

I was part of the team organizing this panel debate at the London School of Economics on 26 November 2009. The panellists – Dr Phillip Campbell (Nature), Professor Paul Freemont (Imperial College), Professor Richard Kitney (Imperial College), Professor Nikolas Rose (LSE), Hugh Whittall (Nuffield Council on Bioethics) and Dr James Wilsdon (Royal Society) – answered questions put to them by the audience under the experienced guidance of chair Quentin Cooper, presenter of the most listened to science series in the UK, The Material World on BBC Radio 4. Audio and video podcasts of the debate are available.

Launch of the Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation

I was part of the team organizing the launch of the Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation (CSynBI) at Imperial College London on 12 May 2009. A series of keynote lectures were given by Dr Jay Keasling on anti-malarial drugs, Professor Pamela Silver on making biology easier to engineer, and Professor Evelyn Fox Keller on the relationship between synthetic biology and biology. Edited versions of the lectures along with an article by myself reflecting on the UK synthetic debate to date were published in BioSocieties.

Public Event: “Beyond the genome: The challenge of synthetic biology

I was part of the team organizing this panel debate on 24 October 2007 at the London School of Economics in conjunction with the Royal Society of Arts and Penguin Books. It was an intellectually rigorous and provocative discussion, punctuated by good humour and generosity amongst the panellists: Dr J Craig Venter (J. Craig Venter Institute), Professor Sarah Franklin (LSE), Professor Peter Lipton (Cambridge) and Professor Chris Mason (UCL). An audio podcast of the event is available, and an edited transcript was published in BioSocieties.