The threat of biological attacks is back: ASSET contribution



Milan, 25th November 2015

The threat of biological attacks is back: ASSET contribution

Terror is back to Europe, and the threat of biological attacks comes along, as it happened after 11th September 2011.

Following the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, French PM Manuel Valls warned that the associates of extremists who targeted France could use chemical and biological weapons, as well.

The problems posed by intentionally caused outbreaks are within the scope of ASSET, an EU funded project aimed to improve preparedness and response to epidemics and pandemics. It combines public health, vaccine and epidemiological research, social and political sciences, law and ethics, gender studies, science communication and media, in order to develop an integrated and transdisciplinary strategy.

Our Report on Intentionally Caused Outbreaks can provide journalists covering the news with some clues about:

- Analysis of history, terrorism and science progress and its potential consequences (sections 2-4)

- Countermeasures to respond to any biological threat (section 5)

- Overview of International and National Policies (Sections 5-6).

The document includes an analysis of the current knowledge, the main policy documents concerning intentionally caused outbreaks and a taxonomy of the main governance problems posed by such a risk n democratic societies, chiefly the tension between secrecy and transparency, freedom of research and security, citizen involvement and experts’ decisions.

ASSET experts from the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (Forsvarets forskningsinstitutt, FFI) are available for comments and interviews:

                              Communication Department


                              +47 63807130 (outside working hours +47 99387130)

For any further information please

visit our website (

       or contact ASSET Press Office

                           Roberta Villa


                          +39 3398182219

MMLAP and other EU Projects

Health system analysis to support capacity development in response to the threat of pandemic influenza in Asia
Making society an active participant in water adaptation to global change
Public Participation in Developing a Common Framework for Assessment and Management of Sustainable Innovation
Engaging all of Europe in shaping a desirable and sustainable future
Expect the unexpected and know how to respond
Driving innovation in crisis management for European resilience
Effective communication in outbreak management: development of an evidence-based tool for Europe
Solutions to improve CBRNe resilience
Network for Communicable Disease Control in Southern Europe and Mediterranean Countries
Developing the framework for an epidemic forecast infrastructure
Strengthening of the national surveillance system for communicable diseases
Surveillance of vaccine preventable hepatitis
European monitoring of excess mortality for public health action
European network for highly infectious disease
Dedicated surveillance network for surveillance and control of vaccine preventable diseases in the EU
Modelling the spread of pandemic influenza and strategies for its containment and mitigation
Cost-effectiveness assessment of european influenza human pandemic alert and response strategies
Bridging the gap between science, stakeholders and policy makers
Promotion of immunization for health professionals in Europe
Towards inclusive research programming for sustainable food innovations
Addressing chronic diseases and healthy ageing across the life cycle
Medical ecosystem – personalized event-based surveillance
Studying the many and varied economic, social, legal and ethical aspects of the recent developments on the Internet, and their consequences for the individual and society at large
Get involved in the responsible marine research and innovation
Knowledge-based policy-making on issues involving science, technology and innovation, mainly based upon the practices in Parliamentary Technology Assessment
Assessment of the current pandemic preparedness and response tools, systems and practice at national, EU and global level in priority areas
Analysis of innovative public engagement tools and instruments for dynamic governance in the field of Science in Society
Public Engagement with Research And Research Engagement with Society
Computing Veracity – the Fourth Challenge of Big Data
Providing infrastructure, co-ordination and integration of existing clinical research networks on epidemics and pandemics
Promote vaccinations among migrant population in Europe
Creating mechanisms for effectively tackling the scientific and technology related challenges faced by society
Improve the quality of indoor air, keeping it free from radon
Improving respect of ethics principles and laws in research and innovation, in line with the evolution of technologies and societal concerns
Investigating how cities in the West securitise against global pandemics
Creating a structured dialogue and mutual learning with citizens and urban actors by setting up National Networks in 10 countries across Europe
Identifying how children can be change agents in the Science and Society relationship
Establishing an open dialogue between stakeholders concerning synthetic biology’s potential benefits and risks
Transparent communication in Epidemics: Learning Lessons from experience, delivering effective Messages, providing Evidence