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Biological threats have the potential to decimate populations. SARS-CoV-2, with a relatively low Case Fatality Rate (CFR), killed millions of people, destabilized countries and cost the US alone more than $10 trillion. The pandemic highlighted the importance of biosecurity and biodefense measures in protecting public health and national security.
Here, we pose two open-ended questions:
A future pandemic is a real possibility in our lifetimes. According to many estimates, biorisk is increasing, with the annual probability of extreme pandemics occurring projected to triple in the coming decades. While the concept of biorisk typically evokes images of naturally occurring diseases or pathogens, new advances in technology and the life sciences, from CRISPR gene editing to machine learning, have unlocked unprecedented biorisks spawned by human innovation. For instance, bad actors now have access to synthetic biology and artificial intelligence tools capable of producing bioweapons, benchtop DNA printers, LLMs that can help synthesize any chemical semi-automatically and other language models that can make pandemic-class agents available to anyone. In one study, generative algorithms historically applied to predict medically-relevant bioactivity based on the structure of chemical compounds were used to design 40,000 lethal molecules in a matter of 6 hours.
Countless other biological threats pose serious risks to public health and national security including biowarfare, bioterrorism, accidental releases, agricultural threats, and more.
This is why we decided to launch this Biosecurity and Biodefense Notion page: to impart our collective lessons as we learn about this increasingly pertinent area. Have a look around in the sections below to see how companies are trying to prevent the next biothreat.
The Biodefense Stack
Going to Market (US)
We wrote this page to learn in public, as a community, to be prepared to back founders and identify opportunities to build in biosecurity and biodefense. We’d love your feedback and input. For anyone who is interested in the space message us to get involved.