Magazine article The Futurist

Bioforensics Standards

Magazine article The Futurist

Bioforensics Standards

Article excerpt

The goal in combatting terrorism is not just to identify perpetrators, but also to prosecute them successfully. To make that happen, a national system to establish guidelines for handling bioagents used in alleged criminal activities could soon be in place in the United States.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has established a scientific working group to standardize bioterrorism procedures and better serve the public in the event of a biological or chemical attack.

This standardization would ensure that, if the best laboratories in the nation were asked to respond to a bioterrorist threat, they would do so with every confidence in their procedures.

The FBI's working group has already published a set of quality-assurance guidelines to be used by labs conducting microbial forensics casework. Working group members have developed analysis criteria so that any findings can be both scientifically sound and admissible in a court of law. These guidelines will provide a basis for establishing uniform quality benchmarks that can be used to evaluate laboratory performance and assure courts that the data provided by these analyses is reliable. …

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