Ginkgo partnered with the UK’s National Biosurveillance Network initiative to Develop a New Vision for Global Biosecurity

May 22 2023

Our health is influenced by everything around us: people, animals, and the environment. A global biosecurity infrastructure can act as a radar to help prevent, detect, and respond to the harmful pathogens that affect all of us. Ginkgo Biosecurity partners with international leaders to further expand these programs that we implemented domestically for the advancement of biosecurity tools, data, and infrastructure.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), on behalf of the Cabinet Office, has commissioned a project to evaluate existing government biosecurity programs and identify areas for improvement. This initiative stems from the new HMG Biological Security Strategy, leveraging advancements in science, technology, and the UK’s leading international expertise in data, AI, innovation, and life sciences.

Ginkgo joined this collective effort to establish the National Biosurveillance Network (NBN), an initiative that aims to enable the United Kingdom to anticipate, assess, and address future biosecurity challenges across human, animal, and plant health domains.

Ginkgo joined a team of 50 experts from AI, professional services, and data analytics firms Faculty, Accenture, and London Data Company, along with a 12-member Expert Advisory Panel composed of leading academics and international experts, who will guide the initiative.

“We are excited to continue to build on a framework that scales biosecurity on a global scale, optimizing a ‘biological radar’ network to prevent, detect, and mitigate biological threats,” said Ginkgo Bioworks General Manager, Biosecurity Matt McKnight. “By working with international partners like the UK Health Security Agency, we are able to do just that.”

Ginkgo has examined existing biosecurity efforts, identified gaps in current systems, and explored potential extensions of existing capabilities. Additionally, they have considered the operational design for a series of pilot programs to test the NBN concept.

The NBN hopes to create a holistic network of effective biosurveillance, utilizing an interconnected network across the UK government and industry to ensure efficient detection and response to various threats.

This project is an example of how critical it is for governments to have a clear biosurveillance strategy, it shows that the United Kingdom is leading the global conversation around this topic. We are proud that UKHSA selected this consortium to help them define their future national strategy.

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