Preventing Global Catastrophic Biological Risks
In February 2020, during the Munich Security Conference, the US think-tank Nuclear Threat Initiative paid for a scenario-based tabletop exercise with senior leaders from around the world "to identify gaps in global capabilities to prevent and respond to a high-consequence biological event."
The February 2020 event included a daylong predecessor exercise in Washington DC in December 2019. Both exercises were sponsored and dominated by actors from the US biosecurity apparatus, who also set the agenda and wrote the report with recommendations.
Participants were asked to consider the scenario and candidly (under Chatham House rules of secrecy) discuss gaps in mechanisms, coordination, and information sharing to reduce biological risks associated with advances in technology and high-consequence biological events.
As the organizers point out "Although the event had been planned for months, the fictional disease in the scenario swept the globe in a way eerily similar to COVID-19 and foreshadowed the widespread impact and paralyzing knock-on effects that the world is now experiencing." Participants determined "that...global leaders...must consider bold changes to the international biosecurity architecture".
Set in late summer 2020, the fictional scenario opene an unexplained influenza virus that is killing international travelers from Aplea, a fictional middle-income country with a burgeoning bioscience and biotechnology economy. As the exercise unfolds, research teams from two World Health Organization collaborating centers sequence the responsible strain and identify it as an engineered version of H2N2 influenza virus, which is related to a strain that circulated among humans several decades earlier. Despite an emerging international consensus that this is a laboratory-created virus, the intent and identity of its creators remain unknown.
- https://www.nti.org/about/projects/global-catastrophic-biological-risks/preventing-global-catastrophic-biological-risks-tabletop-exercise-2020-munich-security-conference/ The February 2020 excersise included: Gro Harlem Brundtland,Tang Bei,Smaïl Chergui,Richard Hatchett, Orin Levine,Ottilia Anna Maunganidze,Ernest J. Moniz,Robert Nass,Sam Nunn,James Revill,Joan Rohlfing,Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall,Elhadj As Sy,Adrian Thomas;The December 2019 Washington excerise included Dr. Peter A. Carr,Dr. Richard Danzi,Dr. Amanda Dion-Schultz,Avril Haines,Dr. Hiski Haukkala,Dr. Norm Kahn,Dimitri Kusnezov,Piers Millet,Jayne Morrow,Joan Rohlfing,Deborah Rosenblum; other names include people who helped with the scenario setup or report