With the increased recognition of a bioterrorism threat, the realm of biosafety is substantially expanding and merging with biosecurity. Two issues pertinent to bioterrorism and biosecurity, or biosafety in its new broader sense, are discussed in this article. The first concerns airborne exposure limits (AEL) for biological threat agents (including biowarfare (BW) agents) and a possible approach to determine these limits in the absence of precise data on infectious doses for most of these agents. The second issue concerns the sensitivity limits for the real-time biosensors that should detect BW agents and the significance of these limits for biosafety and biosecurity. To what levels of infection would the different sensitivity limits correspond and how is sensitivity related to the ability to manage the consequence of an airborne threat? These issues were addressed recently in a model study on detection limits of real-time biosensors (Sabelnikov et al., 2006) but because of their significance for biosafety and biosecurity deserve a much wider scope of discussion.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/alexander_sabelnikov/5/