In my contemplative moments, I often find myself pondering the stark reality within the realm of biological x-risk research. It becomes evident that a significant proportion of such projects are concentrated in Western regions, leaving resource-limited settings at a disadvantage. The question that continually nags at my thoughts is whether this imbalance is attributed to a deficiency in capacity or a lack of interest.

The striking global impact of COVID-19, originating from a non-Western community, serves as a poignant reminder of our interconnected world. Our interactions with wildlife and our frequent travels to Western countries underscore the critical need for a more equitable distribution of research efforts. In my view, directing these endeavors towards regions beyond the Western sphere, with a particular emphasis on capacity development, represents a crucial strategy to safeguard the global community.

 

My experience

My experience may not be representative but may give a clue to what other academics may be experiencing. Elsewhere I had talked about the challenge of nurturing younger scientists in Nigeria. I would not want to repeat it here. However, would like to talk about how hard it is to become an X-risk expert focusing on pandemic preparedness. The question I have often asked myself is, would that ever happen? If the criteria for selecting who to fund or who not to fund is based on the volume and quality of research output. Then this dream may remain an illusion. 

 

So I set out to collect wastewater samples from the following points, piggery, poultry farms, Horse stables and hospital environment. To see what is spreading within our community using the one health concept. This was supposed to only be a pilot project.  The project was supposed to be a collaboration between my lab and a lab in the US. logistics issues particularly import permits put a stop to this project. 

 

Charting the Path Ahead

In light of these experiences, I've outlined some preliminary thoughts on how to address this issue:

  1. Establish a Targeted Training Program: Consider the establishment of a training program designed specifically for researchers from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to bolster their capacity in the field of biological x-risk.
  2. Adopt a Researcher Approach: Explore the idea of adopting a researcher from an LMIC and facilitating their visit to your laboratory for capacity-building, thereby nurturing expertise in regions that may lack resources.
  3. Forge Collaborations: Seek out collaborative opportunities to generate pilot data that can be used as a basis for grant applications and further research endeavors.
  4. Invest in Laboratory Infrastructure: Explore avenues to invest in laboratory infrastructure in LMICs, which can serve as a foundation for ongoing research efforts.

By pursuing these strategies, we can work towards bridging the gap in expertise and resources in the field of biological x-risk research, ultimately contributing to a more globally equitable and prepared response to potential pandemics. I am open for discussion on this topic or for research opportunities. My email  

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Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 4:26 PM

Hi Emman,

While I am no expert in biosecurity, your posts on natural and bioengineered fungi pathogens piqued my interests, particularly on topics of crop resilience. I think your posts have unique values that can be added to the Western dominant EA world, and I love seeing more diversity on the EA forum. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that the formatting of your posts might be undermining your very important message. Revewing your several posts I would consider:

- Adding a tl;dr if writing a longer posts
- Format your post with headers available while editing your EA forum draft
- Crosslink to important and relevant posts such as Max Görlitz map of biosecurity posts
- Writing in longer details in general that helps the non-biosecurity reader like me, set the reader up before getting to the main message.
- References to peer-review sources helps

Your posts deserve a lot more karma than many others, yet I felt like they fall short on readership because of the above reasons, here are just my 2 cents.

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