India is a vast country with porous borders, a great variety of flora and fauna and an over bulging population. Climatic conditions vary from perennially humid and sultry to snow-capped. In such a cauldron of a natural ripe potion, a drop of a toxic pathogen can cause havoc. The question is, are we going to turn off the stove when the drop goes in or make provisions to ensure the drop does not go in at all.
I must salute the concerted actions in response to the Covid-19 pandemic by Indian authorities. There have been commendable actions by many state administrations, most stakeholders and great support by the public. However, the current and earlier epidemics show that India is switching off the stove, meaning, we are mostly responsive or reactive to such bio-threats.
Biosecurity has been dealt with as a health issue leading to many areas of concern. The Coronavirus pandemic has raised national awareness levels and brought out many lessons. It is endeavoured to discuss some of the lessons thrown up in the recent crisis with the aim to strengthen our National Biosecurity.
Biosecurity means putting in place procedures or measures designed to protect the population against harmful biological or biochemical substances. Biosecurity is designed to reduce the risk of transmission of infectious diseases in crops and livestock, quarantined pests, invasive alien species, and living modified organisms.
These preventive measures include a combination of systems and practices put in place at bioscience laboratories, by border control, customs agents, agricultural and natural resource managers to prevent the spread of dangerous pathogens and toxins. Biosecurity is a National security subject and should be a subset of CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) Security.