IEGBBR Mobile Application of Biosafety, Biosecurity and Dual-Use Oversight

IEGBBR logoThe IEGBBR mobile app is a reference tool for countries that aim to develop or strengthen their national biosafety, biosecurity or dual-use oversight. By providing 11 detailed examples of the national oversight systems of the IEGBBR member countries, the app can serve as an information resource to remove the necessity for extensive legwork prior to the development and implementation of oversight systems. The mobile app was launched as a publicly available, searchable mobile application in English and French in March 2022. 

You can get it from the Google Play or Apple app using your Android or Apple mobile device.

The app has the following two modules:
1. Biosafety and Biosecurity - The IEGBBR Compendium of International Biosafety and Biosecurity Oversight Systems for Human and Animal Pathogens and Toxins

    • Provides 11 detailed descriptions of the national regulatory oversight systems in the IEGBBR member countries for activities involving human and animal pathogens and toxins

Biosafety Biosecurity modules mobile app

2. Dual-Use - The Review of Oversight of Dual-Use (DU) in Life Sciences in IEGBBR Countries
    • Provides 11 detailed descriptions of regulatory and non-regulatory oversight for dual-use issues in life sciences among the IEGBBR member countries

Biosafety Biosecurity modules mobile app

Uses of the Mobile App

The mobile app can contribute to a country’s improved national or regional compliance with international commitments by serving as an information resource. By detailing the 11 IEGBBR member countries’ national oversight systems, the IEGBBR mobile app can be used as a reference tool for countries that want to strengthen their public health capacities related to biosafety, biosecurity or dual-use oversight.

International Health Regulations Compliance (IHR):

The mobile app can contribute to improving national/regional compliance with the International Health Regulations. Under the IHR, States Parties are mandated to report annually on 13 public health capacities, including Legislation and Financing (C1) and Laboratory Biosafety and Biosecurity Regime (C5). Also under the IHR, the Joint External Evaluation assessments are a rigorous in-country evaluation of a country’s core public health capacities. The technical areas relevant to biosafety, biosecurity and dual-use oversight include Prevent (P1): National legislation, policy and financing, and Prevent (P6): Biosafety and Biosecurity.

Biological Security:

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a heightened focus on public health and identified challenges to public health control in national regulatory systems around the world. Theories about the origins of SARS-CoV-2 have also garnered focus on international biosafety and biosecurity, which points to the need to build capacity on oversight of dual-use issues, as well as to build strong international understanding and strengthen oversight around responsible conduct in the life sciences. Oversight of biosafety, biosecurity and dual-use is tied to national health security because accounting for highly pathogenic biological agents and storing them safely and securely mitigates public health and biological security risks. The mobile app can contribute to the following biological security priorities:
  • Develop and maintain appropriate and effective measures to identify dual use potential and reduce the risk of deliberate misuse of biological agents
  • Reinforce and strengthen biological non-proliferation principles and practices
  • Reduce proliferation risks through the advancement and promotion of safe and responsible conduct in the biological sciences
  • Secure and account for materials that represent biological proliferation risks, strengthening accountability through strong regulation.

Other International Commitments:

The mobile app can also contribute to ongoing international biosafety and biosecurity efforts and commitments, and can be used hand in hand with other available reference tools.

Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention: 

Descriptions of the IEGBBR oversight systems for biosafety, biosecurity and dual-use show how the signatory achieves compliance to the BTWC, in particular for:
Article I: … “undertakes never in any circumstances to develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain”…,
Article III: … “undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever, directly or indirectly, and not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any State, group of States or international organisations to manufacture or otherwise acquire” …, and
Article IV: … “take any necessary measures to prohibit and prevent the development, production, stockpiling, acquisition or retention”…

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540:

Descriptions of the IEGBBR oversight systems for biosafety, and biosecurity and dual-use oversight systems demonstrate how the signatory has achieved compliance with the requirement to “adopt and enforce appropriate laws to this effect as well as other effective measures to prevent the proliferation of these weapons and their means of delivery to non-State actors, in particular for terrorist purposes”.

The Wassenaar Arrangement and Australia Group:

The described export control regimes in place aim to prevent the spread and development of destabilising accumulations of weapons and the proliferation of biological weapons. This is done through adopting Wassenaar Arrangement policies and recommendations on transfers, and having in place harmonized export controls through Australia Group.

Canada’s Analytical Approach:

The IEGBBR mobile app provides 11 examples of national biosafety, biosecurity, and dual-use oversight systems, including detail of the policy instruments used. It therefore can serve as a complementary tool to the modules of the Analytical Approach that can remove the necessity for extensive legwork prior to the development and implementation of oversight.



How to Use the Mobile App

Users can navigate or search and contrast desired aspects of the biosafety, biosecurity, or dual-use oversight to learn the current practices of the IEGBBR members’ oversight systems. Once you have downloaded the app, you can read the three examples below that describe how to use the tool. The regulatory biosafety, biosecurity and dual-use systems of the 11 IEGBBR members represent a range of varying approaches to oversight. This variety means that you will need to use a combination of navigating and searching to locate the desired content of interest. When searching in the Biosafety and Biosecurity module, you might also need to consult the List of Cross Reference terms due to the variability in terms used by the national regulatory authorities. Users can also consult the hundreds of hyperlinks to access additional information from the IEGBBR member countries.
Mobile app features

User Query Example 1: Which pathogens and toxins should the biosafety and biosecurity oversight system cover?

Go to the biosafety/biosecurity module and then navigate to Part 1.4 as a starting point. You will see that some of the oversight systems are list-based, some cover pathogens/toxins assessed at a certain Risk Group or higher, and some are activity-based – regulating based on the degree of risk of the proposed activity with a specific agent. Some of the systems regulate human and animal pathogens separately and some address biosafety and biosecurity separately. From there, you can follow any number of different explorations, which will lead you to other sections of the app. For example, after understanding the basis of the oversight system, you might next consult Part 1.2 that defines the risk group and biocontainment designations.

Mobile app example 1

User Query Example 2: What are the storage requirements for pathogens?

In this example, the information will not all be in one section of the app. You will find this to be the case for many aspects of the oversight systems, given how different the 11 oversight systems are. Therefore, you will need to perform a search to yield the most relevant results. Use a wildcard search for the partial term “STOR”, which will return results for both the verb store and the noun storage. You will receive a large number of results, since this is a major concept of the oversight systems. Next, use filters to remove sections or countries that might be less relevant for you. The main content of interest will be distributed among different sections. This is because storage requirements are captured differently in the different oversight systems: under standards or similar policy instruments in Part 1.5, part of the regulatory authorization process or requirements (Part 2.1), or part of regulatory notifications (Part 2.3).

Mobile app example 2

Some countries do not have many results among the hits. This is partly because storage isn’t considered separately under the oversight system, but rather is considered at the stage of categorization of the biocontainment required for a given class of activity, or as a part of the risk assessment and notification process. An additional reason for a lack of results for some countries in this example is that different oversight systems employ different terminology—which is mainly a challenge in the biosafety and biosecurity module. If a country isn’t being returned in your search results, consider that it could be due to terminology differences. Consult the List of Cross-Reference terms to help with your searches. For this example, you will see different terms used for storage, including derivations of possession, retention, and stockpile. Use alternative search terms to get the regulatory details of pathogen storage for the remaining countries that weren’t returned in the previous results.

Mobile app example 2

User Query Example 3: What measures should be considered for Dual-Use oversight?

Measures for the oversight of dual-use are highly interwoven into a number of relevant objectives: biosafety, biosecurity, ethics, and international commitments that also touch on foreign policy, national defence and national security interests. The descriptions of the dual-use oversight systems of the IEGBBR members demonstrate how dual-use oversight measures can be woven into existing regulatory and non-regulatory frameworks. For searches related to dual-use, begin with consulting the executive summary and national summaries, or searching for or navigating to the area of interest.

The key to the oversight of dual-use is to understand the many possible intervention points to identify, assess, manage and mitigate dual-use risks, and to determine which will work best in your national situation.


The IEGBBR built this reference tool with a goal of contributing to the improvement of global health security. Do you have questions, comments, or suggestions for improvement of the app? We would appreciate your feedback on the reference tool, which will be used to inform future updates of the reference tool. Please refer to the information on the Contact page to send us your feedback.