Cover of Biosecurity in the Global Age by David P. Fidler and Lawrence O. Gostin
Biosecurity in the Global Age
Biological Weapons, Public Health, and the Rule of Law
David P. Fidler and Lawrence O. Gostin


320 pages.

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804750295
Ebook ISBN: 9780804774475

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Biosecurity comprehensively analyzes the dramatic transformations that are reshaping how the international community addresses biological weapons and infectious diseases.

The book examines the renewed threat from biological weapons, and explores the new world of biological weapons governance. Gostin and Fidler argue that the arms control approach in the Biological Weapons Convention no longer dominates. Other strategies have emerged to challenge the arms control approach, and the book identifies four important policy trends—the criminalization of biological weapons, regulation of the biological sciences, management of the biodefense imperative, and preparation for biological weapons attack.

The book also explores the challenges to public health resulting from new security threats. The authors look at the linkages between security and public health policy, both at the national and international level. For instance, Gostin and Fidler scrutinize the difficulty of developing policies that improve defenses against both biological weapons and the threat of infectious diseases from new viral strains.

The new worlds of biological weapons and public health governance raise the importance of crafting policy responses informed by the rule of law. Thinking about the rule of law underscores the importance of finding globalized forms of biosecurity governance. The book explores patterns in recent governance initiatives and advocates building a "global biosecurity concert" as a way to address the threats biological weapons and infectious diseases present in the early 21st century.

About the authors

David P. Fidler is James Louis Calamaras Professor of Law at Indiana University School of Law. Professor Fidler's recent books include International Law and Public Health: Materials on and Analysis of Global Health Jurisprudence (2000) and SARS, Governance, and the Globalization of Disease (2004).

Lawrence O. Gostin is Associate Dean and Linda D. and Timothy J. O'Neill Professor of Global Health Law at Georgetown University, and Visiting Professor at Oxford University. Professor Gostin's latest books include Public Health Law: Power, Duty, Restraint (2008) and Public Health Law and Ethics: A Reader (2002).

"Fidler and Gostin have produced the best description yet of the traditional as well as the newly emerging laws, regulations, treaties and policies in international biosecurity. They navigate through a broad range of topics, while lucidly explaining the public health issues of the new biosecurity age."

—Victoria Sutton, Professor and Director of the Center for Biodefense, Law and Public Policy, Texas Tech University, and author of Law and Bioterrorism

"Fidler and Gostin's work is essential reading for anyone concerned about either public health or national security—two topics that they make clear must from now on be analyzed together. This pathbreaking book provides an analytic framework for the real world's merger of public health and national security threats. It is both fascinating and important."

—Hank Greely, Stanford University

"Individuals who are concerned with these challenging questions would be well informed if they read Biosecurity in the Global Age: Biological Weapons, Public Health, and the Rule of Law with a clear-cut title that epitomizes the subject matter, the book distinctly lays out the crisis facing the world's biosecurity. This forward-looking book enables the reader to understand the complexities involved in such a task."

Law and Politics Book Review

"Biosecurity in the Global Age: Biological Weapons, Public Health, and the Rule of Law, by internationally renowned law professors Lawrence Gostin and David Fidler, provides an opportunity to develop a robust understanding of biosecurity and its role in national and international policy."

Journal of the American Medical Association